The 2015 growing season blessed us with quite a few beautiful and tasty winter squashes to put away. Now we are all the way into mid-February and are still eating our way through the squashes. I am so pleased with them, I thought I’d tell a little about each variety.
Last spring, we spread some composted cow manure over an area and stuck in lots of seeds. The area was soon a jungle of creeping vines and lush foliage. The leaf cover became a natural weed suppressant and also kept the rich soil shaded, cool and moist. We didn’t water the crop once all summer. I had chosen several varieties from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds that were said to have resistance to squash bugs, which are a big problem here. Not all of the varieties I chose produced, but it was a good experiment to see which ones did.
This is an Italian heirloom and wonderful all purpose squash. They were quite prolific and it was fun to see all the funny, curling shapes they grew into. They were tender and tasty as a summer squash. We harvested them green and sautéed slices with butter and onions. They make a good keeping squash too, proven by the fact that we still have one left six months after harvesting. As a winter squash, we have enjoyed them roasted or made into rich squash soup.
Kamo Kamo Squash
A rare variety from New Zealand, Baker Creek has these listed as a summer squash, but we let most of ours mature and have enjoyed them immensely as a winter squash. They look like miniature pumpkins with beautiful variegated yellow, orange and green coloring. The rind is rock hard so I don’t peel them, but cut them right in half with a large knife. I scoop out the seeds, stuff and bake the halves. Each half is a perfect portion size. The flesh has a creamy, unique texture unlike any other squash I have ever tasted. These too produced in abundance for us.
Greek Sweet Red Squash
I only got a couple of these, but they were so beautiful and delicious I had to include them. They look like a dark green butternut squash that ripened to tan with a deep red-orange flesh that is intensely sweet. I don’t know if they were crowded out by the more vigorous squash varieties, but I will definitely try them again.
Cushaw White (Jonathan Pumpkin)
I had to try this one since Baker Creek had them listed as a heavy yielding Southern squash with good resistance to squash bugs. They are so pretty they look like a decorative gourd, but they are also good eating. I have peeled, cubed and roasted them; stuffed and baked them; and made them into soups.
Musquee De Provence Pumpkin
This is my all time favorite squash, and I have actually been growing it for several years. Not only are they delicious, but strikingly beautiful as well. This one outperformed all of the others this year, yielding a great pile of pumpkins in the corner of the kitchen. This was our choice for our Thanksgiving pumpkin pies, and each pumpkin averaged enough flesh to make 9-10 pies, though a couple were much larger than that. We have also been making them into pumpkin soup and pumpkin breads. This one will remain a staple in our household.