Week #19, Winter squash primer

We are pushing hard this week to gather all our winter squash and sweet potatoes.  There has been so much rain, and more is coming.  We have to get these crops harvested and safe in warm storage before the next storm.  Our squash and sweet potato crops look great now, but will decline if left outside in wet, chilly weather.  From left, Ben, Billy, Kristin, Jory, Linda, Smitty, Simone, John, Michio, Karen and Monika bring ‘Metro’ butternut harvest into the greenhouse.  In front, ‘Carnival’ acorn squash.

THIS WEEK’S ACORN SQUASH; ‘Festival’ (left) OR ‘Heart of Gold’ (right)
These are distractingly beautiful, with stripes and patterns in yellow, green, orange and white.  We used to grow green acorn squash but switched to the newer striped varieties because they taste better and the plants are more vigorous.  You’ll get one or two squash, of one of these types. 

Winter Squash Primer

We expect to have a steady supply of squash or sweet potatoes over the coming weeks.  Let’s review some basics about winter squash.

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

Storage:  Winter squash store best at room temperature with good air circulation.  No cooler than 50 degrees.  On your kitchen counter works.  Do not cover.

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?  Last week’s ‘Jester’ had an edible rind.  Rinds for acorns and butternuts are thicker.  It’s your choice whether to eat them or not.  Steve eats them.  I don’t.

Carmelized acorn squash.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
Week #19, September 26, 2019
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ purple
– Sampler/ sun

‘Festival’ or ‘Heart of Gold’ acorn squash, 1 or 2
Broccoli, 1 or 2 heads
Carrots, 1.6 lb
Tat soi OR Swiss chard (by site)
Slicing tomatoes, ~3 lb
Orange grape tomatoes, ~1 pint
Bell pepper, 1, green, purple or yellow
Orano snack pepper, 1 or 2
Walla Walla onion
Yellow onion
Jalapeno chile (HOT)
Basil, 1 sprig

Next week’s box will probably contain potatoes, leeks, garlic, cauliflower (or broccoli), peppers and more.

Broccoli – Some heads may have small blackened areas.  Just cut them out of the head.  This is common after rainy weather.

Tatsoi (head with dark green leaves) – This bok choy relative has darker leaves and thinner stems.  Easily substituted for bok choy in recipes.

Slicing tomatoes – This might be our final tomato delivery.  At most, we’ll have a handful for you next week.  The plants have exhausted themselves after setting a record crop.  These tomatoes will not last long.  Eat or cook soon.

Basil – This is probably our final sprig of basil for you.  I wanted to send it with the (potentially) final bag of tomatoes.  We’ve sent tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic and jalapeño so you can make a small pan of sauce.

Yellow storage onion (left) versus sweet Walla Walla onion (right)

We have a bumper crop of onions this year, so we’re sending both a yellow storage onion, plus a Walla Walla again.  Let’s repeat the information I shared a few weeks ago about their uses and how to tell them apart.  
Yellow storage onions are pungent, and (unlike Wallas) will fry and sauté nicely.  Their skins are tighter and darker yellow.
Walla Walla onions are sweet, wonderful in salad or for grilling.  Because of their high moisture content, they do not fry well.  Walla Wallas are a lighter shade of yellow, with sparse outer skins.  They tend to look ‘messy’ because they have few outer layers to shed when we clean them up for you.  In contrast, the outer skins of yellow onions flake off easily, taking all the soil with them, leaving clean, shiny skins.


Visit our 2019 Recipe Log or our 2018 Recipe Log or join our Facebook discussion group.

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics or Cooking 101
Orecchiette with Tomatoes, Frozen Peas and Ricotta
Wilted Greens with Oyster Sauce
Acorn Squash with Cornbread Stuffing
Penne with Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box or Cooking 202
Pancetta, Beef, and Chorizo Chili with Sweet and Hot Peppers
Grilled Halibut with Wilting Greens and Chiles
Oven Fried Acorn Squash 
Spiced Yogurt Roasted Broccoli

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Spicy Stir Fry with Broccoli, Greens and Tofu




Takes 45 minutes
Serves 2-4

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 or 2 acorn squash
1 or 2 heads broccoli, cut into bite size florets
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 – 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over two baking sheets. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut into 1/2-inch wide slices and divide evenly onto baking sheets. Add broccoli florets to each tray and toss the mixture gently with your hands to coat. Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, removing half way through and tossing everything for even browning. After thirty minutes, add garlic, syrup and red pepper flakes. Roast 10 minutes further. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and try not to devour immediately.

Adapted ever so slightly from Dishing up the Dirt

Takes 1 hour
Serves 6

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 medium onion, diced
1 pound pork sausage
1 bunch chard or tatsoi (stems and leaves), thinly sliced, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 cups diced tomatoes (either cored slicers or grape tomatoes would be fine)
15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 pound carrots, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1/2 cup roughly chopped dried apricots
2 cups beef broth or water
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Greek yogurt, for serving

  1. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the pork, cooking it by breaking it apart with a wooden spoon until all the edges brown nicely (about 10 minutes). Add chard or tatsoi stems, garlic, jalapeno, and spices. Cook for a minute or two until the spices are fragrant. Add tomatoes and simmer, scrapping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan, until the liquid has reduced a bit (about 15 minutes).
  2. Add the chickpeas, carrots, apricots and brother or water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes until the carrots are tender and the stew has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in tatsoi or chard greens and vinegar. Stir several times to wilt the greens. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  3. Serve the stew with yogurt and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper as needed.


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