Yesterday afternoon 20 gorgeous, and very large pumpkins/winter squash arrived on my doorstep courtesy of my friend Uli. She had gone out of her way to purchase many of them from a local farmer to use as Halloween decor, and a few others were given to her for free. Knowing that they would only rot outside, she offered to pass them onto me so that I could use them for taste-testing, cooking, and preserving.
One doesn’t come into a windfall like this very often so while it is probably a little bit crazy, and may very well drive me nuts, I accepted the challenge enthusiastically. Very enthusiastically, in fact. Realistically, I know that I will not be able to deal with this volume of squash in quick order, so some of these will be going off to friends once I’ve had a chance to take photographs and Davin has had some time to draw them.
Some of the varieties I have identified so far:
- ‘Galeuse d’ Eysines’ – The one that looks like it has peanut shells stuck to it. A French heirloom that is supposed to be super delicious.
- ‘Musquee de Provence’ – aka ‘Fairytale’. The one that is brown(ish) and deeply lobed with a soft dust. Also supposed to be yummy and sweet.
- ‘Porcelain Doll’ – a pink hybrid that is grown in support of breast cancer research.
- Gray Hubbard – I don’t know which variety.
- ‘Blue Hokkaido’
- Crookneck – This one is mottled. I don’t know which variety it is.
Scale is difficult to read in these pictures, so I’ll offer some clues to give you a better idea of what you’re looking at. The pumpkins in the picture at the top of this page fill the trunk of a truck. The large warty orange pumpkin in the back is marked as extra large. It’s circumference measures 54 inches. Unfortunately, it is far too heavy to weigh on any of my kitchen scales.
Just for kicks, I weighed a bunch of the smaller pumpkins and then estimated the total. I included all of the winter squash that is currently in my home, both those that I had harvested from my own garden and two larger types that I had recently purchased. The total comes to… wait for it…. 257 pounds! This does not include the xL warty guy, which I am guessing weighs far more than 50 pounds.
Folks, I have 300+ pounds of squash in my home!
300+ pounds of incredibly gorgeous squashes. Living works of art. I wish they could last forever. I have already set up a few displays in my kitchen of those that I will be using soon. I will be sad to see them go, but I am very much looking forward to cracking them open and getting a taste.
But, of course, while I will be experimenting with preserving some of the better keeping varieties intact, the rest will have to be used up soon. I have never dealt with this sort of volume before, and I do not have much freezer space, otherwise a lot of it would end up there. One can only make and eat so much pumpkin bread and soup. Some will be canned, either as pumpkin butter or pickle. Others will be grilled and baked in the oven. Perhaps I will try my hand at squash ravioli. Last night, while attempting to identify some of the varieties, I happened upon a recipe for baked squash stuffed with cream and mushrooms that sounds really good. Except to hear more from me this winter on my squash experiments. I already have an idea of which varieties I will like best but it will be fun to discover on my own.
The question I have for you is, what else is there? What would you do with a windfall of winter squash?