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Squash - A Bounty of Fall


By Mary Emma Allen

With autumn upon us and holidays not far away, we plan for the many festive meals we may be serving.  Many of them include squash in some form...baked, steamed, sauteed, in casseroles, pies and even cookies.  Winter squash, in its many shapes and varieties, makes a hit.  This hard tough covered vegetable will save into the winter when stored in a dark, dry place.



 

Generally, in our homes today, the storage consists of a basement or pantry.  Years ago, a root cellar held stored food - winter vegetables, squash, cabbage, etc.  This was a dug out portion of ground, often containing a framed door, possibly framing inside - a sort of cave. 

Storage in the root cellar kept fruit and vegetables from freezing and provided food throughout the winter.  If the house had a cellar and it was cold enough, food often was stored there. 

Squash Appeal 

Squash appealed in days ago because it kept well through the winter (if stored properly) and could be prepared in a variety of ways, thus adding variation to the menu, in days when there weren't so many different foods as today. 

This vegetable comes in many types.  Among them are:  Hubbard, acorn (the traditional dark green), white acorn, gold acorn, table ace, butternut, bush, sugar loaf, buttercup, sugar, and turban. 

Decorative Ideas for Squash 

In addition to providing food for fall and winter, squash with hard shells provide decorative accents, both indoors and out.   

*Place near your doorway, around a display of dried corn stalks, perhaps with pumpkins and gourds, too.

*Arrange squash and winter vegetables in a bowl on a sideboard, dining or kitchen table.

*Simply arrayed throughout the house wherever a colorful accent is needed, they look nice.

*Also displayed in a crock or basket in a front hallway they add color..

*Place in gift baskets with other fall fruit and vegetables. 

Recipes 

As mentioned, you can prepare squash in a great variety of ways; soup, casseroles, desserts, and breads. 

 MASHED SQUASH - Simply cooked (boiled or baked), scooped out and mashed, served with butter and a dash of cinnamon, makes an easy to prepare vegetable dish. 

SQUASH PIE - Substitute cooked, mashed winter squash for the pumpkin in a recipe.  It's tasty.  I usually can't tell the difference, but some people claim they can.   

BAKED ACORN SQUASH with APPLE FILLING - Wash 2 acorn squash, cut into halves lengthwise; scoop out the seeds and fiber. Place in a baking pan with the cut side down.  Add 1/2 inch boiling water.  Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 20 minutes.   

Using 3 tart apples, peel, core and dice them.  Mix with 1/8 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey. 

Take squash from oven, and turn cut side up.  Fill squash with apple mixture.  Cover the pan with foil, and then continue baking at 400 degrees F. for 30 minutes, or until the apples and squash are tender. 

ACORN SQUASH VARIATION - Many people serve the squash plain. Turn them right side up and sprinkle with cinnamon, possibly a little sugar, and a dab of butter.  Finish baking until tender. You also can substitute maple syrup or honey for the sugar. 

MORE VARIATIONS - Some cooks make bread stuffing, like that used for turkey, chicken or pork and fill the squash with it instead of apples.  You also can add cranberries to the apples (recipe above) or to the bread stuffing.  In the South, cooks might use cornbread stuffing. 

(c)Mary Emma Allen 

(Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her woodland NH home.  She and her daughter currently are compiling a family cookbook to preserve recipes and memories.   Check out her site, Tea Time Notes (http://teatimenotes.blogspot.com ) E-mail: me.allen@juno.com)

 

 


 

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