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Posts Tagged ‘blue hubbard squash’

Packaging Seeds from my Small Kitchen Garden

I laid out seeds, envelopes, and envelope labels on a table in my billiards room. While I’m giving away Blue Hubbard squash, neck pumpkin, and paste tomato seeds, I also collected seeds from butternut squash, dill weed, and several types of peppers. Most of these will go to The Dinner Garden, a charity that provides seeds to family’s starting gardens in response to economic difficulties.

Two weeks ago, Your Small Kitchen Garden offered up sets of seeds to visitors who asked for them. I’ve been pleased by the response; more than 40 people have left comments requesting seed sets. A complete set includes six seeds of Blue Hubbard squash, six seeds of neck pumpkin, and twenty seeds of chili-pepper-shaped paste tomatoes.

In that post I joked that I’d judge comments on creativity and humor, and I’ve enjoyed the humor in some of the comments. However, the only criteria for receiving seeds are:

  1. Leave a comment explaining which seeds you most want to grow
  2. Complete a “Contact Us” form with your mailing address
  3. Do these things before the seeds run out.

The Small Kitchen Garden Seed Project

I’ve been packaging seeds. To do this, I set up a small table in the corner of my billiards room and laid out all the seeds I saved last season. I designed and printed simple labels and stuck them on coin envelopes. As I started to count out seeds and package them it occurred to me: what if the seeds aren’t viable? I’d feel rotten to learn I’d sent seeds to so many people, and none of those seeds sprouted.

More than a week after planting, one of the three tomato seeds I planted to test viabiity sprouted. By the time I finished this post nearly 2 days later, all three seeds had sprouted. I’m mailing out more than 40 packs of these seeds in the coming week. If you left a comment on my post Free Seeds from Your Small Kitchen Garden, did you also send your mailing address to me via the web site’s Contact Us form? I noticed many visitors overlooked that important step.

So, I test-planted some tomato seeds and waited. Last March, when I started tomato seeds indoors, I had sprouts two days after planting! This January, there were no sprouts for over a week. Finally, on Monday, the first tomato seed sprouted. On Tuesday, two more sprouts appeared. These seeds are viable!

As the cutoff date for my seed giveaway approaches, I’ve packaged up several dozen sets of seeds. I’ve more to package, and I haven’t yet addressed all the envelopes, but I’m confident these seeds will perform when treated properly.

I’m excited to share the seeds; I hope that many of the people who receive them will write once or twice to tell me how their seeds do, and to tell me what they think of the produce they grow.

In the meantime, I’ve already started this year’s small kitchen garden; I’m going to try to keep my tomato seedlings alive indoors until April. I’ll build a tent around them to trap in some moisture and heat, and I’ll flood the tent with light. If things go well, I’ll transplant into larger containers once or twice, so I’ll have very large plants when it’s time to move them outdoors.

By “potting up” the plants this way, I may get a 30-day or better jump on the tomato-growing season. Who knows? Maybe I’ll harvest a few tomatoes in early July this year.



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Freeze Winter Squash from Your Small Kitchen Garden

The Blue Hubbard squash I bought was 24 inches long and it weighed 27 pounds; 7 pounds more than the neck pumpkin it rests on in this photo… and, perhaps, 20 times the weight of the butternut squash from my own garden.

Some months ago I got all excited about winter squash and lamented that the only squash in my small kitchen garden this year was butternut. I bought a huge neck pumpkin at the farmers’ market, and a week later I bought a Blue Hubbard squash as the weekend flea market.

I canned the neck pumpkin in my pressure canner, and presented a two-part written documentary: Exploring Neck Pumpkin at Your Small Kitchen Garden and Can Squash or Pumpkin from Your Home Kitchen Garden. Then I promised readers a look at this amazing Blue Hubbard squash.

It’s been a long time coming, but here’s how I preserved the Blue Hubbard. This method is simple and valid for any winter squash you plan to use in pie fillings. If you want to freeze squash for later use mashed or in casseroles, leave it out of the blender; scoop the cooked squash directly into freezer containers.

I started by cutting off the rotten end of the squash. I removed about a half-inch margin of healthy-looking skin in case the rot had progressed farther through the flesh than what showed on the surface.

The Blue Hubbard Squash Review

I bought my 27 pound pod-people squash for $1.50. This resulted from a 25% discount offered when the seller discovered one end of the squash had started to rot. I had heard that Blue Hubbard is great for pies… but that seems to go for every winter squash I haven’t tried.

While the photographs and their captions tell the story of how to prepare squash for freezing, I didn’t freeze all of the Blue Hubbard. After cooking it, I scooped a sample to taste and was quite pleased. My Blue Hubbard was sweet and very flavorful; it has a much “squashier” flavor than the neck pumpkin. You could serve Blue Hubbard in place of butternut, and few people would notice.

The cut squash was gorgeous. I love the rich pastel orange that fades into pastel green near the rind. When I pressed on the flesh, it gave easily and fluid squirted from it, indicating rot. When I removed another inch of material, the flesh was firm.


I cut the remaining healthy Blue Hubbard squash lengthwise into thirds and picked out all the seeds to plant next year (I hope to give some away or swap with some of my readers). Then I used a spoon to scrape the stringy guts away from the flesh. I’ve no doubt you can eat this stuff, but I’ve never read anything encouraging me to do so.


I had to cut the sections of squash into smaller pieces to get them to fit into one of my largest cook pots. I stood the pieces on edge, and arranged them with air spaces between them. Then I added a few inches of water and covered the pot. It took about 45 minutes for the flesh to become soft all the way through on every piece. I used tongs to remove the squash from the pot, and then I scraped the cooked flesh away from the rind. Even cooked, the subtle pastel colors show in the squash on the spoon in the right-most photo.


Each scoop of cooked squash went into my blender (place the scoops directly into freezer containers if you intend to serve the squash as a vegetable… pureed squash is best for use in baking and soup bases). There was so much squash that I had to run the blender several times. I used the puree setting and made sure there were no chunks remaining in any load. Once I’d filled my largest bowl with pureed squash, I distributed the puree into freezer bags in 16 ounce batches; one bag is the appropriate amount for making a pumpkin pie. I wrote the date on each bag and set them all in the freezer… I’ll be able to make pumpkin pie, bread, cake, soup, and ravioli throughout the year.


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