|French heirloom Musquee de Provence pumpkins. I’ve been growing and saving seeds of this variety since 2003.|
It would be enough if winter squash were merely beautiful; they are also incredibly versatile and delicious in the kitchen. Take a look at this week’s bounty of Pumpkin & Winter squash recipes… Fettuccine with Pumpkin & Sage, Curried Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Pie Fruit Leather, Pumpkin Patch Muffins, Spaghetti Squash with Choice of Flavors, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Yeast Bread, Pumpkin Seed Butter. Just as flavorful soups begin with flavorful stock, many of these recipes begin with Roasted Pumpkin & Winter Squash Puree, a versatile staple that stores conveniently in your freezer. Master the skill of transforming a hard-shelled winter squash into a meal. You will feel wise and thrifty, and rightly so. (See How to Get Into a Pumpkin.)
|Squash puree on left has been strained; puree on right has not.|
Winter squash, which includes pumpkins, should be harvested before the first frost when the rind is hard enough to resist fingernail scratches. Mature squash can be stored for several months at temperatures of 50 – 55 degrees F. in a relative 50-70% humidity, according to Oregon State University. I don’t have such storage conditions in my home, and the garage is too cold, so I look for relatively cool spots such as under my kids’ beds.
|A lovely squash harvest from Seven Oaks Farm.|
Winter Squash come in such a startling array of sizes, colors, and shapes – I think they are beautiful! Over time, the starches in pumpkins and winter squash convert into sugars making them sweeter and more flavorful, so enjoy them as a decorative accent before cooking or baking with them. (I do recommend you position a paper plate underneath your pumpkin to protect carpeting and other surfaces from the possibility of mold.) I have received more compliments than I can count on my lovely pumpkins and hard-shelled Lagenaria gourds that are displayed in my Living Room, much to the chagrin of my daughters Cameo and Miriam : ) This week’s program, The Pleasures of Winter Squash, viewable at rvtv.sou.edu, (Click the Kitchen Wisdom box) has lived up to it’s name. In the process of making these recipes I fell in love with pumpkins and squash all over again. I am hopeful that you will discover the same enjoyment as you bring winter squash into your kitchen. Blessings, Michele
|Harvest of Musquee Provence pumpkins; they will ripen to a bronze color like the photo at the top of the page. The pear-shaped fruit are Mayo Bule gourds, another rare heirloom.