Winter Squash in the share is a sign of the times, which, coincidentally, is just around the fall equinox. End of summer and beginning of fall stuff. Cool mornings for sweatshirts and Sunday afternoon dates on a porch with hot cider. Think rosemary potatoes with eggs and a cup of Anu’s chai tea
in the morning. And winter squash on your plates at night. In your box this week: Delicata squash.
Winter squash is an annual veggie like summer squash; the varieties we grow span several species within the genus Cucurbita. While summer squash are harvested immature (before their seeds have matured), and while we can eat winter squash when they’re young and tender (try steaming), we want winter squash to mature, so their flesh develops a fine texture and sweet taste, and so they will store well. Their skin toughens and stem dries. We look for changes in coloring and the hardening of their rind. After we harvest them, we let them cure for a short time so they will keep better. With the right storage conditions (don’t refrigerate! They like it 50-60 degrees, with good airflow – try your basement) some varieties will last all winter – and some even longer! It’s true, just ask Chefs Bonnie and Steph!
Man, winter squash! Yes. They are worth the wait and space. They are more nutritious than their summer cousins, and their seeds are tasty dried and roasted. Squash have been domesticated for thousands of years (archaeologists have found seeds of domesticated squash in the Andes and in Mexico that are almost 10,000 years old, according to FEDCO Seeds, suggesting that farming developed in the Americas about the same time as in the Middle East), and because, I might surmise, they make fall, well, fall.
Speaking of fall, what you’ve got in your box this week is a little zeppelin of a squash, Delicata. It’s longer than wide and has a creamy color, green stripes, and sometimes a little orange behind the green – that orange is one of the tells of a good squash, though you don’t see it on all varieties and its absence shouldn’t be considered a bad sign. Like Acorn (crop failure this year?!) and Spaghetti squash, Delicata is often called a “Fall Squash” as these don’t require curing. There are ready to eat out of the field. They do not store as long as squash like butternut, buttercup, or kuri, so they’re for eatin’ while the getting’ is good. We like to rotate squash through the season and we expect you’ll see these a couple times over the next few weeks.
What to do with Delicata. Cut in half long-ways. Take a good whiff of inside and with memories of scooping pumpkin seeds and carving Calabasas scoop out the seeds from the inside cavity. You can rinse and toast these if you like. Add to the inside butter and some brown sugar – or maple blessings – then bake at 350 Kelvin until you can smell it in the other room. Delicata don’t really need sweetening, but who doesn’t like butter and brown sugar? Cut each half in half and serve. Eat flesh and don’t be afraid of the skin, it’s good for you and you might like the contrasting texture.
Delicata goes well with: quinoa, corn bread, fish and chicken breaded with cornmeal, garlic red pepper and hot pepper.
Many thanks to everyone who attended the potluck this weekend. Great spread and great turnout! We ate, we hung, and we climbed on old hay bales. Extra special thank you to the twelve young men and women who planted a crop of broccoli. We can look forward to eating them in November and December. You twelve are welcome here any time.
The mingle-potluck was indeed a lot of fun. I’d like to invite you to share your recipes either on our Facebook page or, better, on our website recipe page
. To get you in the mood find one of Sunday’s recipes, Chai tea, below.