After a quick inspection last Wednesday morning, I decided it was time to harvest many of the winter squashes. I naively took a big Tubtrug down to the garden, thinking I would fill it and use it to transport the squash up to the house. Well, I filled it all right, but then I couldn’t lift it! So it wound up taking about three trips to get all the squash up the hill to the house. It was well worth the effort though.
Like an old episode of Dragnet, all the squash had to be lined up and photographed. Then they were brought in and weighed (instead of fingerprinted) before I cleaned them up a bit. Like I did last year, I cleaned the outside with a mild bleach solution (4 tsp per gallon of water) as outlined in this Clemson University bulletin: Pumpkins and Winter Squash. Then it was off to the warm basement where I spread them out to finish curing.
Despite planting too many of the vining types in the area I devoted to them, they still made quite a few squash. I think we will have plenty for our needs. In the first photo, one of our favorites (Cornell’s Bush Delicata) is joined by a newcomer here, Canada Crookneck. In the second photo, our favorite ‘neck pumpkin’ (Penns. Dutch Crookneck) is joined by the legendary Long Island Cheese pumpkin. Both of these are C. moschata types, as is the Canada Crookneck. One of the L.I. Cheeses weighed in at six pounds, while the larger one weighed exactly ten pounds. The two neck pumpkins together weighed a bit over ten pounds.
Next in the lineup we have a mature Kumi Kumi plus several Honeyboat Delicata. These delicata are a bit small compared to the bush variety, but I think conditions were not exactly ideal in the crowded beds where they grew. Next year I will try and do a better job of spacing out the vining squash that I grow.
And last but not least in the squash lineup we have several unusual looking squash I’ve never grown before, and also the biggest one so far this year. In the above photo, to the left is Violina Rugosa, which is an Italian heirloom butternut. To the right is the large Black Futsu, which went from dark green to a chestnut color as it matured on the vine. And in the front is Seminole, which was cultivated in Florida by the Seminole Indians back in the 1500s. All three of these are C. moschata varieties.
The Seminole weighed about 22 ounces, while the Violina Rugosa weighed almost seven pounds. The Black Futsu maxed out the digital scale however, so I had to use my old kitchen scale to weigh it. It tipped the scales at twelve pounds, six ounces, which is a lot of squash for us. All the squashes that day came to a total of 62 pounds, so it is no wonder it took me three trips to carry them up to the house! I am looking forward to tasting these squash after they have cured and aged a bit, though we will eat the Delicatas right away since they don’t keep like the others do.
Summer squash are still coming in too. Last year the Striata d’Italia was the ‘last squash standing’, and it may well be again this year. It’s joined by the White Scallop squash in the below photo.
In other harvest news, the sweet peppers came marching in too. I didn’t need to make extra trips to haul them in though. In the below photo, we have three Italian heirloom peppers hanging out with the hybrid Nadia eggplant. At the top we have the round Topepo Rosso and two Tolli’s Sweet Italian. At the bottom are long slender Jimmy Nardello peppers. I picked the Topepo Rosso by mistake before it was quite fully ripe, but the others were in their prime. It is my first year growing the Topepo Rosso and Tolli’s Sweet Italian, while Jimmy Nardello is an old favorite here.
Another day I brought in some peppers for paprika plus a ripe red bell pepper called Red Knight. In the below photo, that’s Hungarian Paprika on the left and Dulce Rojo on the right. I dehydrated those two varieties to make some sweet paprika.
Lately I’ve been baking about one loaf of bread each week. Sandwiches have been tasting good to me, and that calls for some sort of homemade bread. This week I baked a batch of the Light Rye Sandwich Loaf. It was great as a base for a Meatless Reuben I made one day for lunch, which also used some of my homemade Kohlrabi Kraut. I usually freeze any leftover bread, or make croutons using the dehydrator.
Along with the Meatless Reuben I grilled a Jimmy Nardello and a Tolli’s Sweet Italian pepper so I could do a taste test. The Jimmy Nardello is bit sweeter tasting, but the Tolli’s Sweet Italian had a nice rich pepper flavor too. I think the Tolli’s will be quite useful in the kitchen. We have been enjoying all the ripe sweet peppers grilled, and some wound up on pizza as well. I have to say the real star of that meal was the Kohlrabi Kraut. I made it and some cabbage kraut back in July, and both have been improving with age in the refrigerator. If I had known how good the kohlrabi kraut was going to be, I would have made it years ago! I made both of them ‘in the jar’ using my Homemade Sauerkraut recipe. I am hoping to make more kraut this fall.
I also found time last week to dehydrate some of the 2014 garlic. I mostly selected a few of the types that don’t keep as long, including the Asiatic/Turban varieties and some of the Artichoke types.
I wound up with a little more than a pound of peeled cloves that I sliced up using my garlic slicer. It took longer to peel them than it did to slice them. It is certainly easier to peel the garlic after it is a bit older, but I wanted to do it while I had the time and the dehydrator was free. The Zyliss slicer makes easy work of the slicing part, and does a much better job than I could do with a knife.
The dehydrating took about 13-14 hours total. The house smelled like garlic the first couple of hours, but then the odor dissipated and it wasn’t that bad for the rest of the drying time. I dry these until they are brittle dry, and snap in two when you bend them. They weighed a bit more than six ounces after they were dried. I’ll store the dehydrated slices in a glass jar for later use. Most of it will be ground up for garlic powder, but you can also rehydrate the slices and use them in cooking as well.
After dealing with all the winter squashes, I was jonesing for something made with pumpkin. I decided to make a pumpkin cake using some of the frozen pumpkin puree from last year. I loosely followed this recipe, using all whole wheat flour. The bottom part has cocoa powder and some chocolate chips mixed in with the pumpkin cake batter. It was pretty tasty, and I’ll share my version here once I tweak it a bit more.
That s a look at what’s going on here at Happy Acres. I hope those who are celebrating Labor Day are having a great one! To see what other gardeners are harvesting and celebrating, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne graciously hosts Harvest Mondays.