Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Never Bring a Knife To a Squash Fight

Yesterday I decided I better finish up any and all last minute lawn and garden fall maintenance. I thought I was done a couple of weeks ago, but you know - Parkinson’s Law.

work expanding

So of course there were additional leaves (and they’re not done yet!) to rake, more branches to clean up, a few more plants to deadhead and…one final herb harvest! Only if you live in a winter wonderland of perma-frost will that last late-fall green harvest thrill you as much as the first sprouts of spring.


Especially if they’ve survived several hard freezes and 3 fair-sized snowfalls, as the hearty types in my giant pot of kitchen herbs did. Oh sure, Thyme had given up the fight but Parsley, Sage and Rosemary had refused to stand down, along with Winter Savory, a relatively new recruit to my edible herb repertoire. It’s not easy to find as a seedling but if you see it I would highly recommend adding it to your arsenal. I find it incomparable in white bean dishes including soup and irreplaceable in stewed tomatoes, which, yes, I do actually make.

So it’s Thanksgiving week and while I know a lot of you don’t like cooking – and believe me, I’m beginning to understand that sentiment the older I get – I did find myself with a mess of squash I’ve began collecting for a month or so at the farmers market mostly for fall decor. It was time to either pitch or cook. I managed to cut, gut and roast all the smallish butternuts and buttercups and decided to pitch the lovely blue Cinderellas. That left me with just one relatively small blue Hubbard, arguably the best squash in the world.

bluehubbardBlue Hubbard: the king of squash

I was loath to give it up without a fight but also mindful of the time I attempted to slay one with a very large, sharp kitchen knife and ended up in ER for several hours. Since I didn’t want to risk the incision  method (its or mine) again, I recalled reading somewhere – here probably – about dropping the extremely hard shelled Hubbard on concrete in order to crack it and thereby allow entry with a knife or screwdriver without threat of impaling anything other than the squash.

So I consulted Raj: big mistake. He of course suggested the chainsaw which I deemed to be a) overkill and b) unsanitary. So he agreed to drop it on the driveway from over his head to see if it would crack open enough to proceed. Two things: despite arthritis in every joint of his body he still works out and is quite strong and apparently the smallish Hubbards aren’t as tough as their larger siblings. In a nutshell (squash-shell?) cracking was not a problem. Suffice it to say I had to scrub down the driveway after picking up all the slimy pieces. This is what I could salvage:

salvaged squashCleaned and ready for oven roasting: and I never had to lift a knife!

After roasting and harvesting the flesh all that remained was a pile of dehydrated husks

squash skin

along with a bowlful of delicious orange flesh. A little mashing, a big knob of butter, some salt and pepper and you have yourself some mighty fine eating my friend. If you like squash.


I froze most of it as squash was not one of my assigned duties for Thanksgiving but it will be delicious with a roast chicken or two come December.

The moral to this story? Never bring a knife to a squash fight.

a-blue-hubbard-squashRemember: gravity is your friend

Now get out there and slay a monster.