When I went out to check on the garden after work today, I realized that the little butternut squashes had changed. They had become both more tan and less shiny – indicators that the squashes might actually be mature, even though it is still fairly early in the season.
They’ve been growing for long enough, though, so I went ahead and cut them off the vine.
The NCSU extension publication Storing Winter Squash and Pumpkins explains that, normally, winter squashes will do better in storage if they first have a curing time of one to two weeks at fairly high (>80 degrees F) temperature and similarly high humidity.
I have found that butternut squashes, like sweet potatoes, get a little sweeter after curing, too. The good news is that my garage has just about perfect conditions for curing the squashes in, so after I am done admiring them for a day or two they will be parked in the garage for a couple of weeks, before being brought back into an air-conditioned space.
They won’t sit around for long, though. When I have time, I will probably go ahead and roast them and then mash them to freeze for something like pie.
Elsewhere in the garden, plants are still producing. My house is still pretty much in chaos, and I couldn’t find a pretty container/basket/bowl for posing my veggies in, so the photo shows them in the bag I had carried through the yard for harvesting.
It’s not a huge pile of food, but it will still make a nice addition to our meals, to the pile of frozen veggies (bagged) in the freezer, and to the dehydrated veggies in jars on the storage shelves.
The tomatoes and peppers are assorted varieties. Underneath those are some Pigott Family cowpeas. We’ve already harvested a full quart of those (shelled-out and fully dried) Southern peas, but there are plenty more out in the garden.
As the cool-weather crops, the lettuces, other greens, carrots and more are making their slow beginning, it’s nice to have the anchor of the summer crops still producing.