16 January 2009

Sweet Curry Kabocha Type Winter Squash

For the third winter in a row, I have noted in my records that the third week of January brings a cold-snap, and the coldest nights of the year. This morning we woke up to -30C or -22F (-40C/-40F with the wind chill). And it looks to be the same for the next two nights. It gets hard on the animals when it gets this cold, but it's only for a week. Our average winter nights are in the -10 to -15C range (5-15F).
We had some light freezing rain that is still clinging to the branches of the trees, and catches the light beautifully.

Our goats are due to kid anytime, and I have been hoping that they will wait out the cold snap. So far so good, they have not made udders yet, but they could spring just before going into labor. They look to be about as wide as they can get. Every morning I check them over, feeling the right side where the kids are, for movement, or any changes. Feel the udder for any changes, and to get them used to being milked by me. Look into their eyes and noses to catch any symptoms of illness, runny eyes or noses, etc. I feel down the spine, a few inches past the hip bones, to feel for any sign of early labor, the muscles of the pelvis will shift, and there will be a hollow along either side of the spine during early labor. And I look under the tail, both for any sign of loose stools, as well as any changes to the vulva, the earliest sign of labor is often clear discharge, and a swollen and red vulva.

They are in excellent health and good condition, and the weather is going to turn early next week, so if all goes well the kids will be born on a warm winter day, with mild nights to follow.

Our storage crops are keeping well in the cold room, potatoes, onions, carrots and squash. Along with some beets, turnips, mangles, and carrots that will be replanted in spring for seed saving. The sweet potatoes didn't make it past New Year, but they never had a chance to properly cure. I am rethinking my desire to grow more sweet potatoes, because keeping qualities are so important for us. While perusing the seed catalogues, I came across the Bush Delicata squash which is said to taste like sweet potatoes. We can grow squash easily here, and the right varieties will keep all the way through May.

Two summers ago, a friend gave us a winter squash seed variety that she called Curry. It is a Kabocha type, with dry, deep orange flesh, and excellent keeping qualities. They are 3-4 lb squash, which is good in our climate, because they have a chance to fully ripen. The plants have shown wonderful resistance to powdery mildew, and they each produce 5-6 squash.

There were a few late ripeners with a thin rind, and I have been using those up first, as they will be the first to rot. So we are just getting into the good keepers now, and not a single one has signs of rotting. But when you open one of these up, you understand why, they have a rind like a gourd on them 1/8" thick. Pretty hard to slice open, but they can easily be roasted whole.

The flesh is a gorgeous orange, and very sweet, especially roasted, it smells like caramelized sugar, so I like to call them Sweet Curry squash. And it has a delicate dry texture, like mashed potatoes. My favorite way to prepare the flesh is roasted, and whipped with 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup applesauce. Salt to your liking, and sprinkle with a touch of thyme or sweet marjoram if desired.


Chiot's Run said...

It's been about that cold here as well, it was -13 this morning when we checked at 9 - BRRRRR.

That squash looks fabulous. It's so nice on a cold day!

redclay said...

That squash looks fabulous! I love the idea of adding the applesauce (sweet) with the salt and the marjoram (savory). It sounds so interesting. What other foods would you put with a meal when you serve the squash? What other squash recipes do you like?

The temperature didn't get above freezing here today. That's pretty unusual. Hope all goes well with your kids.

Danielle said...

I just found your blog, and I'm really enjoying it.

I've given you an award. You can find it over at my blog.

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

Chiot's after that kind of a deep-freeze, the normal winter temps feel almost balmy! I'm glad that cold-snap has passed, it was pretty stressful for the animals.

redclay, it is a delicious squash, I have grown butternuts and buttercups, and this is my favorite by far. I usually serve the squash as an alternative to mashed potatoes, so it can go with the basic meat and bread and green vegetable. I do like to do meatballs served with the squash. I make my meatballs with sauteed onion and rolled oats, along with some spices and a bit of flour to hold it all together. A more exciting alternative to meat and bread (and a good way to stretch meat). Sometimes I make a gravy to go over the squash and bread. Gravies are a great way to stretch meat as well. I sometimes put canned peas in the gravy, using the pea "juice" as part of the gravy water. If I make a gravy, then I will skip the applesauce in the squash, just cider vinegar, salt and thyme or sage. You can also try more of a garlic and onion flavor with the squash, either baking it all like a casserole with an egg beat into the squash, or you could make a kind of stuffing to go on the side.

At first, I wasn't too sure what to do with squash myself. But it is a great winter food, packed with Vitamin A.

Danielle, thank you for the award. These blog awards are new to me. It is great to see so much community support within the blogging world.