Here in Arizona, pumpkins and winter squash came into season a couple weeks ago. (Basil, too, if you’re counting)
While most of the country has to wait until September or October*, anyone who had the foresight to plant earlier this summer is coming into a tasty garden crop right about now. Here are a few tips on how we made use of these seasonally available beauties last autumn/winter.
What the heck do I do with this?
Whimsically referred to as Squatternut Baush, we’ve gotten these in our CSA-share and sorta scratched our head at first. Last winter I incorporated sweet potatoes into the chili recipe from the Hungry for Change book in order to bulk it up and make the “broth” more substantial. After the initial success, I branched out to Butternut Squash, mainly because we had one sitting on the counter from our Chow Locally box. A quick bit of peeling and cubing later, and they were ready to be softened up and added to the chili. Sure, it wasn’t a traditional chili at that point, more of a spicy, flavorful stew-ish thing, but it certainly did the job of something warm and filling for the winter months.
The Spaghetti Squash may be the easiest winter squash to figure out considering the go-to dish is built into the name. We’ve used this big yellow lug as a noodle alternative with several sauce and pesto combinations when a craving for Italian hits. Cutting through the husky squash is the hardest part of prepping, which makes this a pretty easy win. While there are multiple tips and methods a simple Google search will provide, our go-to is cutting the squash in half length-wise, scooping out seeds, lathering with olive-oil/salt/pepper, and roasting cut side down on a sheet pan for 45-minutes at 350 F. Once cooled, scrape out the flesh with a fork and use in place of pasta however your heart desires.
Everyone’s Favorite Fall Treat
Last summer/autumn we grew our own Sugar Baby Pumpkins in our front flower box. The plants were incredibly easy to take care of, very resilient through-out the long, scorching summer, and produced a ton of fruit. In the end, whether we were delayed in planting, or the water/sun/shade combinations were a little off, the pumpkins weren’t fully ripe until Thanksgiving, but it was still a great experience to tell everyone that they were eating something that was extremely locally grown. (13 Mile Crepe? Please, 13 Foot Pumpkin Pie!)
From the three saplings that we bought at the Central Farmer’s Market (N Central & Northern, not the Public Market on McKinley) we grew three robust plants that yielded enough crop that Anie was able to make pumpkin pies, pumpkin soup, and we still had plenty to give away to friends/neighbors. I’d thoroughly recommend this for anyone looking to dabble in home-grown foods, it’s so easy even I didn’t kill it.
* excluding Pumpkin Spice Lattes and obnoxiously marketed, not-at-all-pumpkin early seasonal beers.
- The Difference Between Summer Squash and Winter Squash (sensiblesurvival.org)
- Butternut Squash Red Curry (mjandhungryman.com)
- How To Grow Pumpkin (simple-green-living.com)
- Roasted Winter Squash Tacos (blogstew.net)
- Prepping with zoodles and squashetti (Photos) (examiner.com)