Monday, January 16, 2012

Delicious delicata

It's a new year and we are nearly a month into winter.  The first year of the garden produced 3000 pounds of food including zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers, string beans, radishes, carrots, cabbage, kale, potatoes, lettuce, onions, stem and cherry tomatoes, peppers, swiss chard, basil, parsley and delicata squash, pictured above. 

Delicata squash is a winter squash.  Winter squashes are called so because they keep til winter without any special requirements.  We picked the mature delicatas in September and offered them at pantry.  Some pantry clients were hesitant to take one.  But these small striped fruits are delicious and sometimes called the sweet potoato squash.  Plus they can be left on the kitchen counter for several months without spoiling.  The hard outer skin is a natural preservation.  Summer squash, like zucchinis,  are picked while the skin is still soft and the fruit is immature.  Summer squash should be eaten within a week of picking and often served raw while winter squash are usually cooked.  Other varieties of winter squash include acorn, spaghetti and butternut.   

The planting beds were put to bed last month, but we are already preparing for the 2012 growing season.  Winter is an exciting time for gardeners, planning for warmer months and ordering seeds and seedlings during these cold days of winter.  The first day of spring is only 2 months away!