Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Here they all are, the shining winter squash, freshly harvested!

But wait, what do you do with all these yummy beauties?  Well, first you need to wait at least a few weeks before eating one.  Winter Squash need some time to convert the starches they produce into sugars.  One year I read somewhere that Delicata squash can be eaten the same day as it is harvested.  I tried it, and did not cook another one for months because the one I did cook and eat had no flavor.  Long story short, the second one was yummy.  So it is worth the wait!

Storing squash can be a bit tricky.  It likes best to be around 50 degrees. Much colder is not better.  My dad used to store his hubbard squash under the bed in the spare bedroom that did not get heated.  I bag mine up after a few weeks out on the porch, and leave them in an unheated back room.

As you can see from the photo, I grow several varieties, and folks are often curious about which are my favorites, and how I cook them.  Favorites first!  I like the Sweet Dumplings, and Buttercups the best.  My yoga teacher likes the Sunshine, the bright orange ones best.

My favorite way to cook squash is to slice or cut it in half, scoop out the seed, place the flesh side down in a glass baking pan, add a few inches of water, cover with foil and bake for approx 1 hour in a 400 degree oven.  You can tell they are done when you poke the squash and it is soft under your finger.  Smaller squash can cook in 45 minutes, like the delicata.  And yes, I add butter to the cavity!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

okay, enough farming!  I had to take a day off, so I went hiking in the mountains for a few hours.  This is my favorite time of the year, the Aspens are just starting to turn color.
As an added bonus on my way home I picked a shopping bag of pears that will last for a long time if I can find a cool spot in the house to keep them.
I am getting a bit tried of trying to keep up with all the abundance of the garden, but will tackle making sauerkraut in the next days.  Food processors make short work of shredding, or actually slicing the cabbage.  Then I have this super healthy raw food that keeps for months!  I have also been making other fermented vegetables.  My version of Kim Chee.  I will post a few photos and recipe suggestions later this week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Love all the veggie art!

Wow, fall is starting to be in the air.  Time  to make room to store all the winter squash, and making plans for garlic planting. Then perhaps it is time to harvest and store some of the beets too!
Another tip for fall is to get all your row covers or blankets, tarps or whatever you use to cover crops for those few nights of frost we are bound to get here in Taos.  I get everything ready so that I can cover quickly on that night when a storm clears out and it gets COLD! The normal pattern here in Taos is to have a few nights of frost, and then for the nights to warm back up for another 2 to 4 weeks.  So it can be worthwhile to take the time to cover crops.