Week #18; Winter squash primer

‘Jester’ winter squash

Winter Squash Primer

We expect to have a steady supply of winter squash for the rest of the season.  Let’s review some basics.

Expected life:  Some winter squash varieties are ready to eat soon after harvest, others store deep into winter.  Check our newsletter each week for storage information about squash delivered that week.  For example, this week’s acorns are cured and ready to eat.  Plan to eat this early variety within two weeks of delivery.  

Storage:  Do not refrigerate!  Winter squash store best at room temperature with good air circulation.  No cooler than 50 degrees.  On your kitchen counter is good, where you can keep an eye on them.  If you see deterioration, cook promptly.  These early squash are not intended for storage.  Do not cover – that promotes mold.

To make squash easier to cut:  Microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on size of the squash.  This will soften the rind and flesh, making it much easier to cut.

Beth’s favorite simple preparation (acorn or butternut):  Winter squash are easily roasted in a 400F oven.  The goal is to get brown, caramelized edges.
– Split in half with a sharp knife.  
– Scoop out and discard seeds.  
– Run the squash briefly under running water, then shake off the excess water.  Place cavity-side-down on an oiled baking sheet.  The little bit of moisture seals the squash to your roasting pan.  The water soon evaporates, allowing the squash to brown and caramelize.  Caramelization really boosts the flavor.  
– Roast at 400F until easily pierced with a fork, 30 – 45 minutes depending on size.  Flip over while hot.  Add a little butter to melt and some seasoned salt.  Cut into wedges and eat.

Stuffed squash
Acorn squash have a central cavity perfect for stuffing.  Prepare your favorite fully-cooked stuffing, e.g. a rice or quinoa mixture.  Roast your squash as described below.  Preheat the stuffing.  Fill the cooked squash with stuffing, top with grated cheese and return to the oven until everything is hot.

Can you eat the rind?  In my opinion, rinds on these acorn squash are too tough to eat.  Steve eats the Jester rind.  I do not.

We pick, you wash.  We are hustling to bring in our fall crops and don’t have time to wash the winter squash.  We are busy!  Please help by washing your squash!

Please wash your squash to remove any soil.  But let’s pause to ooh and ahh over that bright orange ground-spot.  That predicts a really tasty squash.

Carmelized acorn squash.

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #18, September 14/15, 2023

– Weekly shares
– BiWeekly/ green
– Sampler/ B group

‘Jester’ acorn squash, ~2
Bok choy
Red watermelon
Colored peppers, 3 (or 4), bell &/or frying
‘Oranos’ snack peppers, several
Slicing tomatoes and/or plum tomatoes, ~3.25 lb
(Both types of tomatoes will be in the same bag.)
Zucchini or yellow squash, ~1 count (or 2)
Yellow onion
By site: globe eggplant OR another pepper OR another zucchini OR a bigger watermelon.

Next week’s box will probably contain green beans, winter squash, tomatoes, peppers, cooking greens, and more.

Watermelon – This is the last melon of the season.  We are sending small red watermelons this time, either ‘Dark Belle’ (oblong) or Mini Love (round).  

‘Jester’ acorn winter squash – You will receive one or two squash.  All are cured, ready to eat, and tasty.  Eat within two weeks, as they are less reliable after that; acorn squash are not meant for storage.  Plus, we will send more next week!  Skins of these types are not edible.  It’s best to cook the squash, then remove the skins, eg by scooping while eating.  
Storage: Store at room temperature for two weeks but keep an eye on your squash and cook promptly if they start to deteriorate.

Bok choy (rosette with thick white stems and green leaves) – This Asian green is good for stir-frying or sautéing or in soup. You can think of the stems and leaves as two separate vegetables. The stems require longer cooking. The leaves will cook almost as quickly as spinach. Bok choy stores well, so feel free to pull off leaves as you need them, or use the whole head at once.
Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag or other container.

Tomatoes – Keep a close eye on your tomatoes and eat soon.  It’s fall now, with cooler nights, and the tomato plants are weakening.  If your tomatoes start to show flaws, go ahead and refrigerate them to slow the decline.  It’s better to sacrifice a little flavor.

Zucchini or yellow squash – This is the last of the season.

Yellow onion – This is a pungent cooking-type onion.


Baked rice with tomatoes and feta

Baked Rice with Tomatoes and Feta

If you’ve ever struggled to cook perfect rice on the stove, then you have to try baking it in the oven! The technique couldn’t be simpler, and the rice comes out with a wonderful light and fluffy texture. In this recipe, I mix aromatic onions and garlic, cumin seeds, lemon zest, and juicy tomatoes into the rice to create a more substantial side dish or vegetarian main. A layer of broiled feta adds delicious richness and tangy flavor. Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s baked rice.

Serves 6 to 8
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus lemon wedges for squeezing
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1½ cups basmati rice, rinsed
½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
2¼ cups boiling water
6 ounces feta cheese, roughly crumbled
Za’atar, for garnish, optional
Fresh basil, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin seeds, and lemon zest and cook, stirring, until fragrant, another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Transfer the onion mixture, including all the oil and seasonings, to a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread in an even layer. Top with the tomatoes and evenly sprinkle with the rice. Season with the salt.

Pouring the boiling water over the rice, then immediately cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Let the dish sit, covered, for 5 minutes at room temperature.

Turn the oven broiler to high.

Uncover the rice and fluff with a fork, mixing the rice, tomatoes, and onions together. Spread in an even layer, then scatter the feta on top. Broil for 3 to 8 minutes, or until the cheese is browned around the edges.

Remove from the oven, squeeze with lemon juice, and garnish with pinches of za’atar, if using, and fresh basil. Season to taste and serve.

Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri
Photo by Jack Mathews and Jeanine Donofrio

Acorn Squash with Chickpeas and Chimichurri

From Love & Lemons
In this flavorful fall recipe, warmly spiced chickpeas fill tender boats of roasted acorn squash. The vibrant green sauce on top is a nontraditional cilantro chimichurri. Substitute basil to feature the contents of your share.
Stir-fried bok choy in a bowl
Photo by The Woks of Life

Stir-Fried Bok Choy

From The Woks of Life
Pair this quick stir fry with any simply cooked protein and a scoop of rice for an easy, healthy meal.
Chicken caprese on a platter
Photo by The Modern Proper

Chicken Caprese

From The Modern Proper
Homemade pesto is always a great use for fresh basil! While it’s delicious on pasta, you can do so much else with it too. For instance, enjoy it in this chicken Caprese recipe with some of the tomatoes from this week’s box.
20 Minute Korean Beef Sesame Noodles in bowl with chopsticks
Photo by Half Baked Harvest

20-Minute Korean Beef Sesame Noodles

From Half Baked Harvest
This weeknight noodle recipe calls for “3 cups mixed stir fry vegetables,” which makes it a great match for the contents of this week’s box! Toss in chopped bok choy, thinly sliced peppers, and/or zucchini, and garnish it all with fresh basil. If you don’t have shallots on hand, replace them with thinly sliced onions and increase the cooking time as needed.
Tomato galette
Photo by Eva Kolenko

Tomato Galette

From Love & Lemons
This comforting recipe is perfect for the tail end of tomato season, when the temperatures get cool enough to turn on the oven. It calls for heirloom tomatoes, but both Tipi’s slicers and plum tomatoes would work nicely here. Omit the chives if you don’t have any on hand, and substitute 1 teaspoon dried thyme for the tablespoon fresh.
Pumpkin chili in a bowl with dollop of sour cream on top
Photo by Dishing Up The Dirt

Pumpkin Chili

From Dishing Up The Dirt
Ready for soup season? Make this hearty pumpkin chili with the squash and peppers in this week’s share! Feel free to omit the jalapeño—you can add a pinch of cayenne if you’d like the chili to be spicy.

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