Winter squash is a premier vegetable for easy storage for the colder months.
Our ancestors grew many of these beauties for just this reason. They are also quite prolific; once established in the spring, they continue to put out blossoms and fruit into the early fall.
Now is the time to purchase some winter squashes and pumpkins from your local farmers. They are usually not too expensive as you are buying them in season. Our local organic farm is selling squashes for $2 apiece and pumpkins for $2.50. A friend of mine who loves butternut squash just had to have one last April. As she hadn’t stored any herself, she bought it from the local coop. It wasn’t until she got home and looked at her receipt that she realized she had paid $10 for this squash!
If you want the squashes to keep, they need to be perfect. When selecting your choices, make sure that they have no dings or bruises and that they also have a stem attached. Be careful not to drop them. They will need to be “sunned” (if the farmer hasn’t already done so) which means placed in a sunny spot for a couple of weeks. Bring them in or cover them if frost threatens. Move them around so that all of the surfaces get some Sun.
Once sunned, you can bring the squashes (and pumpkins) in for the winter. They don’t like to be damp or cold so the cellar is not the right place for them. I put mine on the beams in my living room with a bit of newspaper under each one. They like the dry air here and it’s also best if they don’t touch each other. Because I can see them, this allows me to keep an eye on them. Most of them will last well into spring but, if they start to decompose, I can grab them and cook them up right away (or feed them to my chickens). Not only are these items delicious, but they are good for you as well.
Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens.
Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer! A personally autographed copy of her book, Love Signs, is available in the Almanac.com General Store. You can also find an ebook version on Amazon.com for $2.99.
Celeste is a great speaker for garden groups and civic groups. She is also offer a gardening “Apprentice with Celeste." Email her for details via AlmanacEditors@yankeepub.com