Almost ripe squash

Farmers often learn by trial and error…luckily, there are other farmers and recipe-writers to do these things for us so we don’t have to play guessing games all the time. In this case, I knew we had to pick our pumpkins before the bugs completely tore into them. You might find a hole or two in your pie pumpkin or spaghetti squash, not to mention a slight discoloration.  Pie pumpkins should be a deep orange when fully ripe, and hollow when you knock on them.  Spaghetti squash should be creamy yellow throughout when ripe.  The good news is, you can eat these even when they are not farmer’s market ripe. I found one recipe that tells you to stir-fry soft skinned orange/green pumpkins with olive oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  You don’t even have to de-seed if the pumpkins are really green.

In our situation, you might want to de-seed, and save those to bake and munch on later.  The pumpkin squash I picked last week turned out thin skinned, and when baked, stringy, but still pumpkiny.  You can use this like spaghetti squash, taking a fork against the inside of the flesh, and scraping to get the stringy bits out.  You can treat this like spaghetti–it is so good! I recommend baking on 350 in a baking pan, with water in the pan so as not to dry out the flesh, and even cover with a glass lid or aluminum foil.  You can even throw in other veggies and bake your whole meal in the oven while you’re at it.

The best thing I’ve ever had with spaghetti squash with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil mixed in.  I think anything with sweet red peppers would be phenomenal, too.  (we grow those, the Carmen variety, and they are slowly ripening!) Toss like pasta and serve with salad, or baked eggplant too.

Here’s another interesting recipe: Croation Green Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients: Servings: 6-8 Units: US | Metric 1 green pumpkin, peeled cored and flesh shredded (I use a cheese shredder) 2 1/2 cups water 500 g sour cream 1 large cooking onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons olive oil salt pepper paprika (optional) cayenne powder (optional) Directions: 1 In a large soup pot place shredded pumpkin, add 2.5 cups of water. Let pot boil and then reduce heat to medium-high and let cook for 30 minutes. 2 In a separate pan add olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook until garlic and onion is cooked and lightly browned. Once cooked set aside. 3 After 30 minutes turn off heat, add onion mixture and tub of sour cream to soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. 4 You can eat the soup this way or you can blend it. I like it blended so the soup is creamy. I blend the soup and then put it back in the pot. I add paprika and cayenne (by taste).
Read more at: http://www.food.com/recipe/croatian-green-pumpkin-soup-325824?oc=linkback

Oh yes, and best of all: your pie pumpkin can still be baked as you would in your grandma’s pumpkin  pie recipe. Woo!

Note: Yes, I realize it’s the end of July, and that these pie pumpkins might be 3 months early…this happened last year, too.  I suppose we should plant our pumpkins a bit later next here in time for fall harvest! I think the major game changer is the fact that we are in the city, next to a very large black top parking lot. That means it’s way hotter here, and things just seem to grow faster, earlier.

As for other things you’ll find in your share; this delicious foraged delight, purslane! Here are some recipes you might try. I encourage you to go to this site, there are some very interesting combinations here, including one that combines amaranth and purslane!

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/98promotions/april/recipes.html

Purslane


Amaranth

Minutina

Minuntina: This is a new one, even for me. You can consider this a type of lettuce.  It is related to the plantain plant you’ll find all over your yard that has a tall thin green stalk with a little cat-tail type flower on top once it goes to seed. Buckshorn plantain grows wild along the pebbly coastline of Europe and in widely scattered areas of the Mediterranean. You can add this to your salad, or sautee with other mixed vegetables if too fibrous for your palette.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2007-04-01/Buckshorn-Plantain.aspx#ixzz21l9aTW3P

On another note, I am pleased to tell you all that the fish emulsion we have used in the past (Neptune) is not only a local company from Gloucester, Mass., they also test their product for PCB’s and heavy metals-two major concerns for using any kind of animal product, particularly ones that might have consumed plankton or other small ocean inhabiting species.  Their tests results come on clean.  Sadly, PCBs and high levels of heavy metal contaminants can be found in large fish, like tuna and salmon.  Neptune uses smaller fish, such as cod, flounder and haddock.  When the fish come in, they fillet the fish for local restaurants, and then the rest,  about 60% of the fish (considered a waste product,…wasteful, I know!) is then ground up and used to make the fish emulsion many farmers use to protect their plants from pest invasions and virus and bacterial issues.  Please keep in mind that we are always concerned about and continually researching anything involving your safety when it comes to what we may add to our soil, and the location that we grow in.

Thanks for reading!

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