Friday, March 12, 2010

Winter Squash (In Spring)

With spring approaching, Lisa and I are taking inventory on items remaining from last year's harvest. There isn't much:
  • miscellaneous frozen vegetables (snap peas, romano beans, beet tops)
  • 2 jars raspberry jam
  • 4 jars tomato sauce
  • assorted winter squash (one pumpkin, one spaghetti squash, three lady godiva squash)
We use small amounts of the frozen vegetables and canned items regularly, so I'm sure our supply will be gone by the time spring is here. The squash, on the other hand, I rarely think of. They were harvested in September of last year, and besides the odd spaghetti squash I haven't used any since our Thanksgiving dinner (which started with hopi squash soup and finished with pumpkin pie).

Tonight Lisa and I crossed the pumpkin off the list by roasting, puréeing, mixing with goat cheese and black current preserves, and stuffing it into ravioli.

It's crazy to think that we have been able to keep these squash for six months. While they haven't gone moldy, they haven't kept spectacularly well, either. When I cut open the pumpkin I had to discard a small part that had turned mushy; I'm sure the bulk of the nutrients are long gone; and, most importantly, there was a dramatic loss of flavour, all the sugars being converted to starch. The goat cheese and black current preserves restored sweetness and added a bit of tartness to balance.

We've been keeping the squash on a shelf at room temperature. This is far from ideal cellaring conditions (low temperature, high moisture - very difficult in Edmonton's dry winter). Maybe some day I'll be able to dig a cool, humid, ventilated root cellar out of the side of a hill, but renting the main floor of a house in McKernan, that plan will have to wait. I have a different solution to tide me over. This year I'll roast, pur
ée, then freeze most of our squash right after harvest to preserve nutrients and flavour.


  1. 1. Have you tried Japanese pumpkin? (it's incredible).

    2. Squash is my favorite !!! When I tell people this, I usually have to qualify that it's not the sport I love.

    3. Pumpkin (which goes by another name in NZ that I cannot remember) is really popular over there in soups. OR maybe the kiwis I lived with just ate it a lot.

  2. I haven't tried Japanese pumpkin. I'll keep my eyes open for it.