Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What to Do With Underripe Squash

Well, as ever, I goofed...but not too badly...I planted Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti, and Crookneck squash, along with good old zucchini. As is the way with those type of plants in my garden, we have had waaaayyyy more than enough to eat fresh, and honestly, just how much cooked zucchini can you handle? We've had it fried, stir-fried, sauteed, steamed, in bread, in cake, in spaghetti sauce, raw (think cucumber slices with some salt and pepper)...you name it, we've had it that way...I think. Same with the Crookneck squash. When I saw the acorn all glossy green and giant on the vine, I automatically picked it...ooops! I didn't realize that a "winter squash" was supposed to stay on the vine until right after the first frost/freeze of the fall, as that hardens the rind, and changes the sugars inside, creating the delicious flavor of the squash that we know, and some of us love! So, I had about 6 acorns, and 5 spaghetti squash on my dining table, hoping to cure them and be able to keep them whole, in my garage or basement until we were ready to eat them over the winter...

I decided to call my local Garden Center (NOT a Home Depot, but an actual garden/flower store), and talked to one of the growers there. He recommended the following options:

1 - Blanch, peel, seed, and cube the squash, pack it in quart bags/containers, and freeze. You can defrost them during the off-season, stir-fry them, or steam them, and put them into soup etc.

2 - Using the good ol' Interweb, look up a recipe for "Indian Pickle", and voila! You've got a yummy, raw-food option for any underripe produce, that is healthy, easy, and something new!

I recently used the first option, as I didn't want to get the rest of the ingredients that I didn't have for the pickle option, and am now the proud freezer stuffer of 3 gallon-sized containers of spaghetti squash...

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