Harvesting squash for winter from your garden is approaching now that we are almost into fall.
Cooler temperatures is a sure signal that it’s that time to get those squash out of the garden and gather them up for winter storage.
Did you know there are over a dozen types of “winter squash?”
Winter squash is defined as squash harvested in late summer but is referred to as winter due the fact how kong it will keep.
It typically has a tough exterior which ensures that it will keep for months with no refrigeration needed.
When picking ( or harvesting) your squash the stem is the best thing to check for ripeness. Ripe squash should have a tab, dry stem, and a matte exterior, not glossy!
Once cut off the stem you can easily store your squash in a cool dark space. A temperature of 50 degrees is ideal.
It’s more important to keep them warm than placing them in an area that can freeze. Be sure to pack them in a box or crate and allow air to circulate.
By checking them each week you can see if any of your squash are spotting which is a sign to use them now!
You can easily bake up your squash now and place it in freezer bags once removed from its shells. Just cut the squash in half and place in a baking dish with a little water with the cut side down.
Bake for about 45 minutes until the squash is soft when pressed with your finger. Once done baking you can scoop out the squash and place in freezer bags.
I usually put about 2-3 cups of squash per bag. Seal bag up and press flat & lay in freezer. This is a great way to have squash ready for all that winter soup you are planning to cook up!
What are your Favorites?
I have included a list below of some of our favorites. Many of these we have planted in our garden. If you want to try a new variety it’s best to read up on the variety and be sure of the growing season as well as when to harvest.
- Acorn: This is a popular small winter squash. Like most varieties of winter squash, acorn squash is really versatile. It can be baked, roasted, steamed, sautéed, or even cooked in the microwave.
- Butternut: This is one squash that has ben in our garden the last few years. This pear-shaped squash has a smooth, cream-colored exterior with bright orange flesh and comparatively few seeds.It can be cubed and baked in the oven or just baked in the shell then spooned out. Once removed from the shell you can turn into a delicoius autumn squash soup.
- Spaghetti Squash: Spaghetti squash has a cylindrical shape with a firm exterior that ranges in color from pale cream to bright yellow. When you cook the squash, the moist flesh develops strands that resemble spaghetti.
- Galeux D’eysines: These were new in our garden this year. Although there salmon colored sking is covered with warts ( which would probably make a great halloween decoration). It looks like it would be a tough one to cut and bake but the skin of this variety is suprisingly easy to cut through!
This recipe is one we found that uses the last squash listed! Let me know if you try it. Of course like most recipes, if you don’t have every spice the recipe calls for use what you have. I add pumpkin pie spice to my squash soup even though it usually isn’t listed but it gives it a great flavor!
So as you can see there are many varieties that you can cook on top of the stove, grilled or made into a soup! Looking for some great recipes? Here’s just one book with some great ideas!
I just want to add that I do use an immersion blender and you can read all about what exactly it does and how great it is for soup in this post!