Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Winter Squash comes early to Central NY

As with many crops this season, winter squash made an early appearance on harvest schedules of most central NY farms. Local orchards were bringing a bounty of apples to market 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule and the pumpkins and winter squash have been ready for harvest since August. Harvesting squash on a hot August day is not what most people have in mind as a fun day on the farm, so many have waited until September. Waiting too long once the vines have dies back, though, puts the squash at risk of sun damage that can compromise the storage life of the squash.
This year we grew 3 varieties of squash: Delicata, Acorn, and baby Pie Pumpkin. Come out to one of our markets and take home some squash to roast for a hearty, fall evening's dinner.

Delicata Squash with it's tender skin and a sweet, nutty flesh is great 
baked and eaten (skin and all) with a little butter.

Acorn squash with it's characteristic orange mark on the underside of the squash. 
The small size make them great for stuffing.

Sugar Pie pumpkins are a hit with kids for carving and decorating. But they are also excellent for making creamy soup, served right into the hollowed out pumpkin for a festive dinner.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup Recipe (simplyrecipes.com)

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin
  • 5 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.
2 Add pumpkin and 5 cups of broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
3 Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
4 With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste.

To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh.

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