Quick. Easy. Tastes like autumn!
One of my favorite varieties of winter squash is butternut. Harvested and dried, these will keep for several months.
One option is to cut the squash in half, remove seeds, and bake in the oven until tender and soft. Or, our most-oft preferred cooking method is to peel and cut into chunks, toss with olive oil and kosher salt, then bake in a shallow pan until roasted through.
Quick. Easy. Tastes like autumn!
Remains of last year's fall pumpkins became part of our compost pile that slowly decomposed throughout the winter and spring months. In most areas of the garden this spring/summer, I added a shovelful of fresh compost while planting seedlings, preparing soil, or creating mounds for squash seeds.
Although I should not have been surprised, I pleasantly was when volunteer vines began spreading and developing tiny green pumpkins. A little too early, in my opinion, but a nice addition nonetheless. The pumpkins now await fall while temporarily residing in the barn.
Last week I cleared my summer squash beds - the yellow, white, and sunburst bush varieties (plus all of their cross-pollinators).
Can't help but love these colors!
To harden their rinds, I am allowing the squash varieties a week in the heat of the arid barn loft before transferring them to a cool, dark place until they hopefully emerge as decorative gourds for the autumn season.
With the exception of the butternut squash lying in the foreground which we will eat throughout the winter (more of these awaiting us in the garden beds).
As most gardeners this year, we are struggling with an overabundance of squash. The freezer is filling, we have ingested as many as possible, and plants continue producing. My favorites of the season are these starburst squash, meaty, crisp and mild in flavor. Excellent for frying.
Yesterday I attempted a new strategy: oven baked squash chips. First step: remove the seeds.
Second step: thinly slice the squash into strips. Coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, then bake in the oven.
The challenge became baking the strips evenly, so I played around with oven temperature settings to try and attain an even crispness. Success proved elusive, but the taste was good. These will make a nice snack item or side for dinner.
In addition, the toasted squash seeds made a delicious snack item. The seeds, coated with olive oil and seasoning salt, are thinner than roasted pumpkin seeds and melt in the mouth.
Our shelling beans are ready for harvesting, including speckled pinto beans ...
and red kidney beans.
After shelling, we spread the beans on newspapers for drying over the next month or so.
Some for eating.
Some for planting.
Without the potatoes. My neighbor suggested another way to use up the armloads of squash produced this summer. Potato cakes. Except they are squash cakes.
Peel squash then cook until soft before mashing with a potato masher. Drain in a colander, squeezing out all excess water. Mix with a beaten egg, flour, salt, pepper, and finely chopped onions. Fry in oil. This proved a family hit and a tasty approach to using up excess squash!
... posting one more photograph of surprisingly-plump-and-sweet carrots harvested this week.
Happy First Day of Summer!
Planted concurrently with carrots during the "long, cold winter," our beets are finally maturing and producing a decent crop (for us).
I planted carrot seeds in late February, during one of the few, brief warm spells of this past brutal winter. Within a week, the seeds were buried beneath a thick layer of sleet and ice, then a sheet of snow. I will admit to low expectations.
The carrots grew excruciating slowly as winter hung around week after week, only beginning to fill out with green leafy tops in May. Yesterday I harvested a few for personal consumption and was pleasantly surprised by their growth.
I also picked our first yellow squash of the season - thus the group photo.
This is our story, in real time and in photos. It is neither unique nor unusual nor extraordinary. But it is our story.