Week 19

  • Acorn winter squash
  • Collard greens
  • Sweet peppers
  • Garlic
  • Tomato
  • Carrots
  • Parsley
  • Romaine lettuce

Yes carrots are back!  Hooray!  We should have them for a good while now, probably not every week, but hopefully most weeks from now until the end of the share in mid-November.

Winter squash makes its very first appearance in the share this week.  This fall, winter and spring staple food comes in many varieties, shapes, and colors.  Some kinds store better than others and some are better eaten sooner and some later.  Acorn squash does not store as well as many other types and its flavor tends to be better eaten on the earlier side (closer to harvest, which is about now).  So that is why it is the first winter squash in the share.  All that said, it should store for you well on the counter for at least 4 weeks if you need it to.  Next in line will be ‘delicata’ coming into the share in about 3 weeks.  At the bottom of this post I’ll put in some more info about winter squash preparation ideas.

The second round of brassica/braising greens (kale, collards, cabbage, chard) all look really nice right now.  There are some white flies getting a foot hold on them but they come off well in the wash basin.  The collards in this week’s share are actually from the spring planting however, as we’re letting the second round really fully size up before digging into them.  Tomatoes are really really slow to ripen right now so there’s just a couple in the share this week.  Peppers are slowing down a bit as well but still there.  Gone are the cukes and summer squash!  Til next year guys…

In the past I’ve let potatoes store themselves in the ground where they’ve grown and dug them as I needed them. This season we’re doing things differently.  We dug all of the potatoes that were still in the ground yesterday. They were being nibbled by some farm critters and also some soil dwelling insects called wire-worms.  Unfortunately you will probably see some wire-worm damage in some of the potatoes that go out this fall.  In looking into them, I think the main thing that we need to do differently in the future is harvest the potatoes as soon as they are ready and get them into storage, as the worms do the worst damage once the potatoes are fully sized up.  Lessons learned every year!  For this year, if you find damage, just cut it out and use the part of the potato that looks good.  Potatoes need cool, dark, moist storage and I’m working on getting them into a suitable place this week.  They’ll be distributed about 3 more times between now and the end of the CSA.

Some winter squash info and ideas from Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe

Acorn (Cucurbita pepo)

Acorn squash, with its distinctive shape and dark-green skin, has yellow flesh that is mildly sweet and slightly nutty in flavor. A smallish squash that measures 5 to 8 inches long, it will keep in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place for months. Remember, however, that the Acorn is an early-ripening squash, so it will not last through the winter.

Baking and Roasting Winter Squash

Baking and roasting are the best ways to prepare winter squash, as these methods caramelize their natural sugars and concentrate their flavors. To bake whole squash, follow the directions above for washing, trimming, and pricking. Place the squash on a baking sheet or pan. If it is too big, you may halve or quarter it and place the pieces on the pan, cut sides down. Most squashes weighing 1 to 1½ pounds will take about 45 minutes in a 350°F to 375°F oven; 3-pounders require 1½ to 2 hours.

In the last third of the cooking time, check constantly for doneness by inserting the point of a sharp knife into the center of the squash. If the knife blade passes through easily with no resistance, then the squash is done. Extract the seeds and surrounding stringy pulp, and scoop out the flesh into another container. Season to taste and reheat if necessary. Or you can peel and cube squashes such as butternut, then toss the cubes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 385°F, turning once, until caramelized and tender.

Serving Suggestions

  • Boil or mash winter squash just as you would potatoes.
  • Add peeled squash cubes to your favorite soups, stews, beans, gratins, and vegetable ragouts.
  • Steam cubes of winter squash and dress with olive oil, garlic, tamari, and ginger for a savory dish, or with apples and ginger for a sweeter dish.
  • Bake squash, cut into halves, and stuff with seasoned meat, rice, breadcrumbs, or a favorite stir-fry recipe.
  • Make shredded strands of spaghetti squash into an au gratin, with butter and cheese.
  • Very tender, sweet winter squashes can be finely shredded to make an unusual slaw, along with raisins, mayonnaise, vinegar, cream, and sugar.
  • Incorporate mashed or finely shredded squash into pancakes, much like potato pancakes, or deep-fry like hash browns.
  • Purée cooked squash and blend with sugar, cinnamon, honey, nutmeg, maple syrup, and cream for a luscious dessert
  • Substitute sweet-flavored winter squash in any recipe calling for pumpkin.
  • Dress cooked winter squash with butter and herbs, a cream sauce, cheese sauce, maple syrup and nuts, marinara sauce, or stewed fruit.
  • Use cooked, mashed squash in breads (especially cornbread), muffins, custards, and pies. Be sure to compensate in the recipe for the squash’s extra moisture.
  • Peel and cube butternut squash, then toss the cubes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 385°F, turning once, until caramelized and tender. Serve as is or toss the cubes with sautéed chard, kale, or roasted bell pepper strips.

Stuffed Squash

Serves 2

Source Note: This delicious, colorful, stuffed winter squash dish—bursting with nuts, plenty of herbs, and dried fruit—is hearty enough to be a main course. It’s also an excellent accompaniment to golden, roasted chicken or grilled pork or lamb chops.

2 acorn squash, halved and seeded

4 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 ribs celery, chopped

½ cup walnuts

½ cup sunflower seeds

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried sage

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons fresh marjoram, or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram

2 cups coarsely crumbled whole wheat bread

Juice of 1 lemon or orange

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup raisins or dried cranberries

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Oil a baking dish that can snugly fit the squash halves. Place the squash, flesh side down, in the dish and pour in 2 cups of water. Bake until it is fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and sauté the onions until they turn translucent. Add the celery, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and garlic. Cook over low heat until the nuts are browned. Add the sage, thyme, and marjoram. Stir in the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and raisins; then cook over low heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and stir in the cheese.
  4. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Pack the stuffing into the squash cavities and cover with aluminum foil. Bake, flesh side up, for 25 minutes. Then uncover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes longer to brown.

— Featherstone Farm, Rushford, Minnesota, as appears in Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, by Mi Ae Lipe