Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saving Up Squash – September 15, 2013

All Southerners know you must lock your car up in the summer or a neighbor or co-worker might fill up your trunk with their squash bounty.  We don’t grow squash but this year we had a volunteer butternut squash plant that must have resulted from the seeds being left in our mulch.  I do buy squash at the Farmer’s Market.  We really enjoy the baby ones that are great for pan frying with cherry tomatoes or pickling whole with the same sour pickle recipe I shared in this blog last year for okra, beans and carrots as well as baby squash. 

This week, I decided to get a little more adventurous thanks to Paul Virant’s beautiful book, The Preservation Kitchen.  I started with Pickled and Spiced Summer Squash.  I had beautiful Zephyr Squash, the half yellow half light green Summer squash popular at the market.  Here is all you do:

Pickled and Spiced Summer Squash

8 c. squash cut in ¼ inch slices
2 T. salt
2 ½ c. Champagne vinegar
1 ¼ c. water
½ c. white wine
¼ c. sugar
1 T. sweet curry powder
2 tsp. smoked paprika

Mix squash and salt and sit in colander to drain for an hour.  Meanwhile, boil remaining ingredients.  Divide squash into 5 pint jars and pour brine over before sealing 10 minutes.  Now the interesting part...when ready to eat, you can open and serve as a pickle with a cheese board, but you can also make a great room temperature salad which is easy for parties.  Simply grill 1 pound squash and cut in similar size to those in your pickles.  Add to a drained jar of pickled squash with 1/3 c. feta cheese.  Add salt, pepper, fresh parsley and olive oil and pickle juice to taste (just a little of each).
If you don’t like the idea of canning but you tired of ratatouille, you can also try curried Summer squash.  It is perfect as the temperatures drop.

Curried Squash Soup

3 T. vegetable oil
2 chopped Summer squash
1 chopped onion
1 tsp. curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
4 c. chicken broth

Saute squash, onion and curry in oil 8-10 minutes until soft.  Add broth and bring to boil.  Reduce and simmer 25-30 minutes.  Puree in blender and serve topped with sour cream, cilantro and/or pepper.

So, you may not be tired of butternut squash yet and it saves for several weeks in the vegetable drawer, but my plant produced more than we were interested in eating during the summer.  Butternut squash always make me think of autumn and Thanksgiving, so I liked the idea of making something I could just pull out and enjoy during the holiday.

Butternut Squash Aigre-Doux

2 ¼ lb. butternut squash (quartered, seeded and sliced in ¼ inch slices)
½ sliced Vidalia onion
2 ½ c. sherry
1 ¾ c. maple syrup
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
¾ c. sherry vinegar

Add all ingredients except vinegar to a pot and bring to boil.  Lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Drain squash and onions and pack in jars.  Add the vinegar to the brine and simmer.  Pour this over squash in jars and seal in boiling water 10 minutes. 

When you are ready to eat, just pour the entire contents of a pint jar into a pan with 2 T. butter and heat.  Just before serving, add a bit of nutmeg.

One Year Ago - Moroccan Winter Squash and Moroccan Eggplant and Chickpeas

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