Squash Takes Over

This year’s garden experiment: Plunking a few seeds of buttercup squash into the newest bed. To my surprise the plants overtook the garden and produced a good crop.

I also grew native New Mexican calabazas from seeds my late friend Jerry gave me. That’s them to the right.

I harvested the squash well before the killing frost, let them harden a bit in the garden and now, because there is nowhere else to put them, they are stored beside my writing desk. It’s also the coolest room in the house.

We have eaten one buttercup squash so far. I sautéed and steamed chunks for separate dinners, and most recently, pureed them for soup.

The fall eating has officially begun.

We eat winter squash until we are sick of it, which actually takes a long time. I only grew buttercup, but I am fond of butternut, which I can buy locally. I skip acorn because it is just not that flavorful. Then there are the calabazas, which I have yet to try.

When we lived Back East we traveled to a local farm and bought a crate or two to last most of the winter.

A few winters, I ate so much yellow squash the palms of my hands got yellow.

So how do I prepare winter squash? Sauteed alone or with other vegetables. Steamed. Baked. In soups, stews and beans. Muffins. And, of course, desserts like pie. 

The other vegetables that compliment winter squash, at least for my palate, are onions, corn, string beans, and carrots.

I will admit the squash I grew this year is not the sweetest I’ve had. Perhaps I should have cut back the vines so the plants focused their energy on the squashes. I certainly will grow them next year in richer, more established soil. But it is gratifying to eat the food you raise.