Youth Farm CSA Newsletter: September 24th (week 17)

Kari brings in the corn stalks.
On the farm. Much of the harvest is in.  All the onions are hanging in the barn awaiting good homes and winter meals. The winter squash and pumpkins are doing a bit of curing as well so they can be used in the fall and early winter as decoration to celebrate the season, as well as for its flavor in pies and soups, bakes, or breads.

Winter squash can sometimes be an intimidating fruit if you are not familiar with it. So I figured I would spend some time singing praises of the healthful Cucurbita.  

On the nutritional front,winter squash has lots of vitamin A, and C, as well as potassium, dietary fiber and manganese.  It is also a great veggie for folate, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B1 (thiamin), copper, tryptophan, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).  It is also a source of iron and beta carotene. Look for darker skinned fruits – they contain the highest beta carotene.  While I don’t know what all of those do for me, it is great to know that squash packs a nutrient punch.

Winter squash is also an excellent keeper.  The first step in keeping squash is curing it. So when get home with your squash the first thing to do is take it out of the bag and place it on your counter or sunny window sill.  After a week or preferably two, your squash should be moved somewhere dark that stays between 50-55 degrees.  Most often closets work great for this, as do some basements. Of course you can bring them back out for Halloween and Thanksgiving for decoration, or make a beautiful fall squash soup housed in a jack o lantern.

In your CSA share this week: Expect to find winter squash, leeks, broccoli or cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, chard or kale, carrots, beets, parsley, garlic, onions, a variety of peppers, eggplant, arugula or salad mix, and — as always — a few surprises.  Also a reminder the first week in October is the last week of the CSA shares.

Jerralee harvests pumpkins. Photo by Cori Ash

A Recipe. Baked squash with sausage and apples (or just about anything)

First preheat your oven to 350, then cut 2 squash in half and clean out the seeds. Place the squash upside down on a greased baking tray. You can put a bit of extra oil or butter on the pan or a splash of water or stock.  Cook the squash until tender (about 35-45 minutes), then remove from the oven but leave the oven on. Now you’ll want to put together your other  goods.  You can mix together sausage and apples, with a basic stuffing, or forgo the stuffing and add caramelized onions, blue cheese, bacon, or toasted walnuts.

Then scoop about 2/3 of the squash out of the shell and mix it with your other goods. Next, refill your squash, put a dab of butter on top and throw it back in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes. This is a really nice meal — the combinations of what you can put in it are endless.

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