Last year I experimented growing a new variety (well, new to me, at least) of squash. The catalog said that under ideal conditions this squash would store for a year. That sounded interesting. Who doesn’t want fresh vegetables in the dead of winter or late spring before the garden starts producing? So I decided to try it.
I was really pleased. Last summer was not a good year for squash. None of my vines produced a whole very abundantly. To make matters worse, I had a couple volunteers in the compost pile that cross pollinated with my pumpkins and squash, so a lot of them had the stringiness of Spaghetti squash. The flavor was OK, but the texture and “cookability” was not, so they were really only good for purees (in pie, bread and soups.) And none of them did very well in storage.
But even with these setbacks, still I got three really good sized, pure (not cross pollinated) Blue Hubbard squash. Now that the pumpkins and all
the lesser squash have been eaten, today I cut into the smallest of the Hubbards. (By small, I mean 12 pounds!) And I am pleased. It has lived up to it’s reputation. Here we are at the end of February, almost five months after harvest and this squash still has crispy, firm, fresh and moist flesh. The color is bright and it tastes great.
The only drawback to the Hubbard is that it’s so BIG. I have a larger one that I’m guessing is around 20 pounds. Even if we eat squash every day for a week we will be hard-pressed to finish it off before it begins to spoil. But I can easily freeze what we can’t eat right away, so I won’t let its size put me off.
Why you should grow squash
I encourage you to plant at least one variety of this unfairly maligned vegetable. OK, maybe you don’t malign squash, but I can tell you my kids are very vociferous maligners. And I’m not that crazy about squash either. But you really should grow squash, even if you’re not crazy about it and here’s why:
- You get a LOT of food off one plant. Depending on the variety, I get 10-30 fruits off each plant, for about 100-150 pounds of food. (As a rule, the larger the fruit, the fewer on each vine.)
- It takes very little room if you plant vertically, training the vines up a fence or trellis.
- It’s packed with vitamins, especially high in beta carotenes which are essential for skin, hair and nails.
- It’s a calorie-dense food, which may be important if you have to live off your garden and very little else.
- As already mentioned, it stores for a very long time.
Squash is such a great food value, that I’ve been determined to learn to like it. And I hope you will too (learn to like it, if you don’t already.) That’s why I’ve posted a recipes Winter Squash Soup and Roasted Fall Vegetables. After you try those recipes, you’ll want to check my cookbook: Sasquash: Legend Meets Kitchen. This book has over two dozen recipes, including soups, main dishes and desserts. You never knew there was so much you could do with squash.
I’m also learning other things about growing squash
(like how to eliminate problems with cross pollination) that I’ll try to post about later.
Bottom line: this Blue Hubbard is definitely going to be a standard in our future gardens.