Harvested on the eve of sub-freezing temperatures, these are all but two of my winter squashes for the year. One not shown appeared in an earlier post titled Neck Pumpkin! and weighed 17 pounds. These together probably weigh 30 pounds. One obviously needs to ripen but I’m confident it will do that once I move it indoors.
This month’s Post Produce falls on the winter side of the craziest chill I can remember. We’ve had several freezes where the temperature dropped below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but we have not yet had frost! The deep cold killed all my summer food plants, but left lettuce, spinach, and pak choi unscathed.
Anticipating the cold nights, I had harvested my winter squash, the few tomatoes that weren’t yet showing blight, and as many beans as I could handle. The winter squash are under a beach towel on the picnic table on the porch. Most of the tomatoes rotted while I was away at a conference. The beans are in the freezer.
Falling Back on Preserves
Tonight, for the first time since tomatoes ripened in July, I started drawing down my larder. I use a jar of cut-up tomatoes and another of tomato sauce to make a simple meal of spaghetti and meat sauce. I also used a basil ice cube for seasoning and harvested some lettuce from the patch I planted on September fifth. I have such mixed feelings: sad to be breaking into the preserves, and happy still to have salad growing next to the kids’ climbing tower (I wish I’d thought to take photos before it got dark).
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I haven’t yet stored all the canned goods I processed through the growing season so I’m not sure how many pints of tomato sauce and cut-up tomatoes I have. I used a pint of each to cook up spaghetti sauce.
These may look disgusting, but they’re packed with fresh basil flavor. Just before the freeze, I harvested all my basil, put the leaves and smaller stems in the blender with some water, and pureed them into slurry. Then I filled the compartments of this ice cube tray and set the tray to freeze. One cube provides peak-season intensity for spaghetti or pizza sauce. Sadly, I’ve only 13 cubes to last until spring. Next year I plant more basil!