The Humble Squash

Squash is not even slightly trendy or hip, but it is definitely an easy comfort food. In my region of Ontario, Canada it is available year round in grocery stores. Although it is not in season currently, it can be stored at room temperature for the longest time. It is readily available but the only concern is that when sold by the pound, it can sometimes be surprisingly expensive at the till. When I cook a squash of any sort, I remove the seeds, wash and dry them and save them for my garden. Just before spring, I throw my mix of seeds into a flower pot on a window sill, sprout them, and when risk of frost has passed, I plant the seedlings in my garden. I place them here and there –

a few in my rockery,

Squash in the flower pots

a few by the fence, a few among the flowers.

Squash vine climbing the fence

As they are a bonus plant to me, and they take up a lot of space, I don’t dedicate a specific part of the garden to them. Squash create long thick vines with tentacles and do love to climb. The big orange flowers become the fruit.

A small spaghetti squash emerging.

Once they start to climb and produce the heavy squash, it’s hard to move the vines to cut the lawn, as the vines tend to snap and the squash fall off. If I planted them in a dedicated vegetable garden or on the lawn, the big leaves would cover my other veggies, or my husband would move the vines to mow, and that would be a shame. This year I have planted acorn and spaghetti squash from the seeds of squash we ate in the winter. I have also planted pumpkin from seed packets, but no luck with those. I love it when the pumpkins sprout in my front garden as a ready fall garden decoration. but oh well.

To cook squash, I cut the squash in half (that’s the hardest part), scoop out the seeds (and save them). For spaghetti squash I turn the squash cut side down in one inch of water in a large pyrex dish. I cook for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Then I scoop out the insides with a big fork (that’s the fun part) and serve with butter and salt and pepper. For acorn or butternut squash, I like to roast them face up a little olive oil, salt and pepper at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Generally I serve with butter and more salt and pepper, but I may add brown sugar and butter and mash if the squash is a bit bitter.

I can’t wait til the fall!

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