I love Winter Squash. If you have the room for it, I can’t recommend it highly enough for a survival garden.
Very nutritious –Mostly carbs, with some protein, they are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. They are also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium and Magnesium, and a VERY good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese. They also contain some Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Read More
Stores REALLY well – Winter squashes have a hard rind on them that really helps them keep their shelf quality. Some actually improve in flavor after curing and storing. The Banana types and the Hubbards are huge and can feed quite a crowd from a single squash. I’ve found that most will tolerate chunks being cut out of them over a few days without any noticeable loss in flavor or taste.
Table Queen (acorn type) 1 to 2 months
Butternut 2 to 3 months
Hubbard types 3 to 6 months
Banana 3 to 6 months
Buttercup (turban type) 3 to 6 months
Sweet Meat 4 to 6 months
Did I mention they TASTE DELICIOUS?! My babies love roasted and pureed squash. I love roasted squash. I do have trouble with the soups made from winter squash, they tend to be too thick and the texture doesn’t agree with me. But, lots of people swear by the squash soups, so do give that route a try. Soups are good survival dishes, all the nutrients stay in the broth so you don’t “lose” anything.
Easy to grow – kids even like to grow these, because of how fast they sprout and how quickly the long vines grow. You do need some room for them to roam though. Last year I let them take over a side of my front yard. This year I had some space behind a local church.
Easy to harvest – Harvest all types of squash and pumpkin before frost begins. Squash are ready for harvest when the rind is hard enough to resist fingernail
scratches. Cut the stem 2 to 4 inches from the fruit. Pumpkins without stems do not store well. Hubbard-type squash stores best with the stems completely removed. Handle fruit carefully to keep them in good condition.
Do make sure you cure them for best storage. Nearly all mature squash, except acorn types, will benefit from a short period of curing. Curing is holding squash and pumpkin at a temperature favorable for healing cuts and scratches and for
forming a protective corky layer over injuries and cut surfaces of the stem.
Cure squash and pumpkin for 10 days at temperatures of 80 to 85°F.
Storing your bounty – Squash and pumpkin deteriorate rapidly if stored at temperatures below 50°F. The best storage temperature is between 50 and 55°F.
Fruit that has been exposed to freezing before harvest also will deteriorate rapidly.
I always make sure we have a cabinet full of winter squash before the cold of winter sets in. They are our mainstay for fresh veggies during winter. Any other squash lovers out there? Share some favorite recipes or varieties!
– Calamity Jane