I have not had the opportunity to be part of the planting, but I have helped pruned and harvest a variety of vegetables. From acorn squash to zucchini, and everything in between. The last few years this garden has encouraged me to have my own garden (on a much smaller scale). I wanted to have access to fresh vegetables right outside my back door. The farm is about 3 1/2 hours away, so we can only visit every so often. When we do, though, we stock up and freeze, can, and store what we can.
I've been doing my research on the best way to preserve each type vegetable that we choose to harvest from the garden. I hate to see anything go to waste, and I hope that our uncle has plenty of other people to supply with his produce.
This year we harvested more winter squash than we had in the past. I had to be sure that they would last, so I found out how to keep each variety. Then I cured the ones that needed to be cured before storing them. Only time will tell if I was successful at curing these vegetables (this was my first time). We got some large, flat produce boxes from our local grocery store and most of them are in our garage. The temperature in our garage is right about where it needs to be, but I may need to reevaluate that as the temperatures outside continue to drop.
The varieties we have are:
Delicata (the long striped) squash is great for roasting. Butternut and Hubbard can be roasted or mashed. Acorn can also be roasted, but a lot of recipes call for it stuffed.
That is the route I took when I decided to introduce my daughter to acorn squash. I wanted her to enjoy the experience, so I made sure the "stuffing" consisted of foods she already liked and was familiar with. Following is the recipe to my acorn squash recipe.
MELISSA'S STUFFED ACORN SQUASH
- 2 Acorn Squash, halved and cleaned
- 1 cooked chicken breast or other left over chicken
- 3 slices turkey bacon
- 2 c. cooked brown rice
- 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 c. diced onion
- 1/3 c. diced green pepper
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place squash cut side up in casserole, drizzle with EVOO and salt pepper.
- Bake for 40 minutes.
- Cook 1 c. of brown rice, and season water with salt.
- Fry bacon and chop into small pieces.
- Saute garlic, onion, and green pepper in 1 T. EVOO.
- Cube chicken into small pieces.
- In a mixing bowl, mix 2 c. of cooked rice, sauteed vegetables, bacon, cubed chicken, and Parmesan cheese. Season to taste.
- After squash has cooked for 40 minutes, fill hollowed out section with rice mixture. Bake for 20 minutes.
With this falls harvest, I learned quite a few things. How to store and cure winter squash, and with my research I learned how to provide my family with hearty, filling meals to keep us going with the changing of the seasons.