Need winter squash advice quick so get in here!

Dirtmechanic

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I want to thank you all. My understanding of curing meat and any historical experience of drying has helped me incorporate your invaluable time and advice. Just tell everybody that you know that at least one person on the internet is completely devoted to the idea that you do not suck.
 

flowerbug

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Well, we try to be humble but ..

. there is always the risk on TEG that any reports of some fellow traveler's success will ..

. likely feed our vanity.

Steve ;)
feed our tummies. :)

curing, was to pick the squash when it is ready (this varies by variety), leaving a bit of the stem on it still and then letting it dry for a few more days, week, out of the sun, with good air flow and low enough humidity so that any blemishes or marks will dry instead of starting to fester and then rot. some people will wipe down their squash with a weak bleach solution to prevent fungus troubles, but i've never had any of that happen if the squash have been dried first and any marks have been allowed to dry and callous over before putting the squash into their more permanent storage.

the fungus troubles i do have at times are from those that have been left out in the rains too often and then they start growing stuff on them. if picked right away they can be sometimes rescued, but i'm wary of fungus and so if i smell anything slightly off about a squash after i've cut away what i think is rotten i'll just ditch it and move on. when you have a lot of squash to process you don't have to be super picky about those that may be marginal, but even then i still hate to waste food so there is a balance to things...
 

Zeedman

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In warm humid Arkansas if they stayed in contact with the ground too long they could rot where they made contact. I've heard of people setting them up on something to keep them off the ground but I never tried it.
Same here. As the squash develop, I place a small bundle of straw under them. Soil contact seems to be the primary source of infection, since that is usually the site where spoilage begins. The fungus apparently remains inactive (probably because the squash has defenses) until the squash has weakened in storage. Harvest should be done carefully, any flaw in the skin is a potential entry point for infection. Immediately after harvest, I carefully wash down the squash to remove any clinging soil or insects, then cure them in my unheated patio.

I store winter squashes in my semi-heated basement, on ventilated shelves several feet above the floor. This is not ideal, I wish I had a less humid location... but you play with the hand you're dealt. DW would probably not approve of storing them upstairs, it is miracle enough that she has accepted the table of seed trays in the living room. :thumbsup Regardless, most of the squash will last into January. The squashes will spoil on a staggered schedule, so they should be inspected frequently & used immediately at the first sign of spoilage. There have been a couple over the years that actually made it to Spring (they are gourds after all) but they were few & far between, maybe 5%... and not really palatable at that point. If I get 4 months of storage, I'm a happy camper.

There is one other storage possibility - dehydration. I've tried that with kabocha squash; peeled, sliced, then dehydrated. Store the "chips" in an air-tight container immediately after dehydration. To both re-hydrate & cook, I placed the chips in a rice cooker with a little water; the flavor & texture were similar to fresh baked, very pleasant. With a 9-shelf dehydrator, I can do about one complete squash at a time.

The only thing that has prevented me from doing this on a larger scale is the difficulty of peeling the squash; I need a squash that is easier to peel, and/or a faster method of peeling squashes with hard skin. The Buttercups I grew last year were so hard-skinned, I only peeled two before giving up. This year was supposed to be an attempt at Option A, a kabocha-like squash I've grown in the past that was easier to peel - but it perished under weed pressure. :mad: Hopefully the same variety will fare better next year. I will still be trying dehydration with the ripe Tromboncino I am growing for seed, even though the quality of the ripe squash is IMO inferior to their Butternut cousins. They will certainly be easier to peel! Who knows, the texture may be improved, since I can control the amount of water used in re-hydration.
 

flowerbug

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Same here. As the squash develop, I place a small bundle of straw under them. Soil contact seems to be the primary source of infection, since that is usually the site where spoilage begins. The fungus apparently remains inactive (probably because the squash has defenses) until the squash has weakened in storage. Harvest should be done carefully, any flaw in the skin is a potential entry point for infection. Immediately after harvest, I carefully wash down the squash to remove any clinging soil or insects, then cure them in my unheated patio.

I store winter squashes in my semi-heated basement, on ventilated shelves several feet above the floor. This is not ideal, I wish I had a less humid location... but you play with the hand you're dealt. DW would probably not approve of storing them upstairs, it is miracle enough that she has accepted the table of seed trays in the living room. :thumbsup Regardless, most of the squash will last into January. The squashes will spoil on a staggered schedule, so they should be inspected frequently & used immediately at the first sign of spoilage. There have been a couple over the years that actually made it to Spring (they are gourds after all) but they were few & far between, maybe 5%... and not really palatable at that point. If I get 4 months of storage, I'm a happy camper.

There is one other storage possibility - dehydration. I've tried that with kabocha squash; peeled, sliced, then dehydrated. Store the "chips" in an air-tight container immediately after dehydration. To both re-hydrate & cook, I placed the chips in a rice cooker with a little water; the flavor & texture were similar to fresh baked, very pleasant. With a 9-shelf dehydrator, I can do about one complete squash at a time.

The only thing that has prevented me from doing this on a larger scale is the difficulty of peeling the squash; I need a squash that is easier to peel, and/or a faster method of peeling squashes with hard skin. The Buttercups I grew last year were so hard-skinned, I only peeled two before giving up. This year was supposed to be an attempt at Option A, a kabocha-like squash I've grown in the past that was easier to peel - but it perished under weed pressure. :mad: Hopefully the same variety will fare better next year. I will still be trying dehydration with the ripe Tromboncino I am growing for seed, even though the quality of the ripe squash is IMO inferior to their Butternut cousins. They will certainly be easier to peel! Who knows, the texture may be improved, since I can control the amount of water used in re-hydration.
that's a new one to me. i'd not think of peeling a buttercup squash before cooking it. sometimes if the skin is clean enough i'll eat it too. i consider that to be flavored "green" and while it may be different than the interior of the squash i do consider it edible. and, well, if i don't eat, the worms will and they love cooked squash and peels that are left over.

as a kid the frozen blocks of precooked squash that all the kids hated i was so happy to eat. i think my favorite way to do squash is to bake it as that gives you the carmelized sugars here or there. fresh baked squash with a bit of butter and i'm all set. :)

but back to preserving, drying, hmm, we just have no real room for such things here, i have a tough enough time getting all the beans dried.
 

Dirtmechanic

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Would you believe I cook them in the microwave whole when we have the squashed squash with butter in a bowl? I will perforate them extensively of course to prevent any volcanics and cook them for 10 or 15 minutes dependant on size. Then they cut so easy and we scoop them out. Other than that we bake them usually cut in half. a little brown sugar and butter in the middle, foiled across the top.
 

baymule

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I am looking forward to making pie with my Pink Banana squash. I've never made a pie with squash I grew, always the can of Libby's.
 

flowerbug

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Would you believe I cook them in the microwave whole when we have the squashed squash with butter in a bowl? I will perforate them extensively of course to prevent any volcanics and cook them for 10 or 15 minutes dependant on size. Then they cut so easy and we scoop them out. Other than that we bake them usually cut in half. a little brown sugar and butter in the middle, foiled across the top.
yes, i've heard of that and also heard that for people who have a hard time cutting them in half to microwave for some time to soften them first. we used to microwave if we were only making a single squash, but it is rare we cooked only one so if we're going to run the oven i do several at a time.
 

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