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.
I never thought of dehydrating my garlic. It’s a great way to preserve it. I store mine in the basement in a burlap sack. I will have to try that trick. Thanks for sharing.
My word that’s a lot of squash! And a lot of different varieties too. Great pickings.
Tried but I just could not develop a taste for cheese pumpkin. I too have never thought of dehydrating garlic, idea to store for the future.
Wow 62 pounds of squash in one haul! So many varieties too. Your peppers look beautiful. I don’t think mine will ripen this year. We are running out of summer.
Such wonderful harvests. My squash are still far from ripe. I’m only growing one kind this year the Waltham butternut as I want to collect seed and it has always been my best producer. I tried Black Futsu one year, but it didn’t produce much for me. I did like the taste. And mine never got that big. They were little 3 pound squash for me.
This one might be a rogue squash. I was not expecting anything that big either. It is probably an ‘off’ type, not the usual Black Futsu.
What an assortment of squash. My only winter squash is the butternut. I’ll have to remember to do the wash when I do harvest them.
Wow, great winter squash harvest. Good thing about them is they don’t have to be eaten right away. Good tip on the garlic. I’m off to find a garlic slicer so I can use my new dehydrator. Will be interesting to see what wife says about the smell.
Beautiful squashes. The Black Futsu is so pretty. I’m hoping that a mild bleach solution treatment will allow my green tomatoes to ripen indoors this fall. Most of them tend to rot before they ripen.
Dave, your post today warms the heart of 4 hills of squash! So many beautiful Winter Squash. The Black Futsu could be a supermodel! I am very interested to hear a taste report once you get around to using them. Happy Labor Day and Happy September!
Thanks Lexa! I will be sure and post a report after we do some taste testing.
That’s a terrific squash lineup. I can’t believe how big your Black Futsu is, mine were all little runty things in comparison. This year I’m only growing one winter squash, a mini butternut, all of which are far from being ready to harvest. Jimmy Nardello and Topepo are delicious sweet peppers, I haven’t tried any of the other ones you’re growing. There’s always something new to tempt me. 🙂
The Topepo was nice even if it wasn’t fully ripe. It looks to do better than other pimento types I’ve tried to grow. I had to trace the vine back to the label on the Futsu to make sure that’s what is was. I planted a Thai squash that looked to have a similar shape, but it has not yet produced anything.
All of your harvests are so nice! I envy your eggplant. I didn’t get a single eggplant off my plants this year. I don’t know why.
I never thought of making meatless Reubens. I love Reuben sandwiches but only rarely have corned beef and have never bought pastrami. This would give me a way to make them without having to buy the meat special. Thanks. I am sure I will make some of those.
It’s not that I don’t like corned beef, but it’s the sauerkraut and rye bread that I really like. Swiss cheese doesn’t hurt either. 😉
Wow, that’s a lot of squash!! We have tried to grow some squash around our place but no one will eat it so it’s off the list for now! Thanks for the garlic pointers, I think we will try drying some to make our own garlic powder as well.
Oh I can just imagine you trying to lift the tubtrug full of squash – hilarious! So many wonderful varieties you have grown – can’t wait to try a few more winter squash next year. That’s very interesting about cleaning squash with a bleach solution. I read the bulletin, but it didn’t say why you needed to do this – is it to remove bacteria that may affect how long the squash stores?
Yes, removing the soil borne bacteria is what I think it does. My wife wondered why I didn’t just get the wheel barrow!
Wow, 62 lbs is a heck of a lot of winter squash. I’m with Norma, I never developed a taste for cheese pumpkins either. All I grew this year was butternuts, but my garden is tiny compared to yours.
Love to see all the different varieties of C. moschata you grow. I’m growing Long Island Cheese this year. It is not too productive for me. And mine look pure white while yours seem to have an orangeish tint.
The skin on the cheese pumpkins turned a bit darker than a butternut. It will be interesting to see what they taste like!
Brilliant idea with drying your garlic! Have you seen this youtube about how to peel a head of garlic in seconds? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d3oc24fD-c
I have not seen that method. I just gave it a try and the skins came right off, though it took maybe 15 or 20 seconds.
The Black Futsu is a beautiful squash – I’d be sad to cut into that one. I’ve held off on growing winter squash for various reasons, but my husband has a three sisters garden in mind for next year, so we’ll give them a try then.
Great squash harvest! I love the Delicatas but haven’t had much success growing them – the borer always seems to get them. The Futsu squash is gorgeous.