With a frost nearly certain tonight and a freeze a possibility, it was time to harvest the butternut squash. This is my first year growing squash, and I’m thrilled with the harvest. Because my vegetable garden is not large, I planted only two plants, and put them in positions where they could grow out into the meadow area behind our yard. And grow they did!
Advertised as a compact variety, this early butternut squash from Renee’s Garden sprawled all over the meadow — but in a good way. From the two plants, I harvested a total of 18 squash, which will now cure for a week or so in a sunny corner of our house. I consulted with Erin of Open Hands Farm, a local community supported agriculture farm, about squash curing, and she said they do it largely by feel. You want a hard skin on squash and a sweet taste. The purpose of curing is to allow the squash to develop a bit more sweetness and to let the stem of the squash dry. With a dry stem, squash like these will easily keep for two to three months, and with the right conditions, possibly longer.
The stem popped off one of the squash during harvest, so that one will get cooked tonight. From that, I’ll have a sense of how sweet the squash are and how long to let them cure. Once they have cured, I’ll store them in a cool corner of our basement (which is dry) and use them throughout the fall.