On long-stored squash


Penny and the girl with the final harvest of last year

This gorgeous and gigantic thing is the last of my butternut squash…from 2008!

Obviously, something that grew this large, tasted this good and (most importantly) stored for as long as this one did needs to be saved in perpetuity.  Butternuts (cucurbita moschata) don’t easily cross with the four other types of typical garden squash, as most of its relatives are rare.  Personally, butternuts are the one squash I reliably seed-save because I don’t grow varieties that could cross it, nor do any of my neighbors.  So, these seeds are washed and are drying for next year’s garden.

Butternuts have the distinction of being the one unadulterated squash (read: not covered in brown sugar) that my picky husband will eat.  Me, I love them all, and now that fall is upon us, my desire to eat squash has returned with the turning leaves and the cooler temperatures.  By far my favorite butternut squash dish is hand-made squash-filled ravioli with a shallot/sage/browned butter sauce (eat, die happy!) but my weeknights are usually harried, with no time to craft a stuffed pasta.  ‘Sokay.  Shortcuts can be taken.  Oven-roasted squash chunks can be made while the store-bought pasta boils and the shallots caramelize in their own pan of butter.  Sizzle the sage in the shallot butter, drain the pasta, toss all in a big pasta bowl, testing for salt…and voila, a quicker, near-enough dish for a Wednesday night.

P1010334Whoops:  Steam on the lens.  Take my word, it was tasty.  I used broken-up lasagna noodles.

15 responses to “On long-stored squash

  1. My mouth is watering! Butternut squash ravioli are on my “must figure out how to make so I stop buying them” list. Unfortunately, butternuts don’t grow well here, I’m told, so I’ll be trying to find a substitue squash. Any recommendations, anyone?

  2. El, I have three butternut squash(!) that need, so I’m told, a frost to hit them before I pick them. Another two that are too immature to pick. What a little QT your ‘girl’ is, and your puppydog, too!

  3. My butternuts don’t store well down here. I lost 3 to bugs and rot. Dernit! I love those things. Lesson learned: EAT THEM UP NOW!

  4. I have fond memories of the butternut squash ravioli. We came to love a butternut squash lasagna, which I’m thinking would be a little easier. My destiny seems to have crossed with these squash, as they grow determinadly in our garden where I have never planted them. This year, two excellent sqush from volunteer plants that popped up all over and were transplanted into the cucurbit bed and trained up a string trellis. I will soon be taking the trellis down. But now I’m thinking, maybe save some of those seeds for next year, since they are so insistent.

  5. A squash stored that long is extremely impressive to me…wow. I have yet to grow a decent butternut, just little itty bitty ones, not enough sun.

    Squash stuffed ravioli sounds really good! My favorite part about winter is having a little extra time to be creative in the kitchen.

  6. Sounds delicious. My husband is fairly anti-squash as well…maybe he’d like your version. I’ll have to try it.

  7. Penny looks a lot like “Walter” from the Walter the Farting Dog books.

  8. If I could eat only one kind of squash (and store only one kind of squash) it would be butternut. I adore it. For long term storage, it beat out all the other kinds I kept last year – but no where as well as your’s, clearly! Very impressive.
    It seems that butternut squash is often taken in the sweet direction, but I also like a spicy angle like a tagine…. never have tried the pasta direction – I wonder how it would go over with family who are used to the traditional versions and may think those are the “only” way to go?

  9. Totally off topic but it will come up at the top so you see it soon.

    Dear El,

    Thank you for this:


    I did my first two today in the rain with a little bit of help. I had CG’s post


    and yours and the two combined were perfect for me in preparation, process and consciousness.

    My little guys are currently soaking in brine to hang out for a few days.


  10. Beautiful 2008 squash! Mine didn’t get that big this year (but at least I figured out that you grow winter squash in SUMMER). Cranky and I are proud that we harvested both Delicata and Butta-nutta.
    (Oh! I should save some seeds instead of roasting them all!)

  11. And cut in chunks and caramelized in a high oven with olive oil and salt. . . made into risotto. . . and yes, that’s my favorite ravioli. Maybe I’ll make time this week. Every time I make that I have to make goat cheese and toasted walnut also, because my spouse hates butternut squash (and most orange food) that much.


  12. So… how shall we call this heirloom in the making? El’s Keeper?

    My most successful winter squash were also the volunteers this year. Not sure what it says… although no butternut this year (I love them for soups, gratins and lasagnas…), but good crop of sweet potatoes…

  13. Kristi, well, I guess you’re fortunate in that butternuts are something you can get everywhere, right? Yeah, next year try to search out the most sun-blasted, sheltered area of your garden and try them, keeping them mulched, watered and trellised. It might work. Otherwise delicata are the easiest other winter squash I know to grow.

    Sharon, good for you! Go outside and test the bottoms of them with your thumbnail: if you cannot easily pierce it without much pressure, they’re ready. Just make sure to cut off 1-2″ of stem with it so they’ll keep. Sometimes I have even gotten those small ones to ripen in the greenhouse, but they don’t keep as long.

    Jules, sometimes, instant gratification is the way to go!!! Sorry you lost them though, what a bummer.

    Ed, I would think those squash are trying to tell you something, so indeed, save the seeds. They’re becoming well adapted to your area. And yeah, ravioli are kind of time-consuming, but, well, I swear sometimes I get A.D.D. doing lasagna, all those layers make me nutty. But a nice squash soup is low on the glycemic index, eh?

    Mike, I get into more trouble when I “have time” in the winter. Ah well. Yeah, they like their light, and their good soil. I hope you can chop a tree down and grow some, they’re pretty wonderful.

    Jocele, there’s also butternut squash soup. My secret is I throw the tiniest bit of curry in mine. Very complementary tastes.

    John, I am not sure if that’s a good thing or not! And Penny, though a farm dog, is too delicate to fart. Seriously.

    MC, well, you’ll always just have to try with the family. That tagine sounds good. I need to get more spicy stuff into our lives, surely. And yeah, I guess I would single out butternuts too, in my desert island version of reality…

    Alecto! So glad to provide you a virtual helping-hand. But: I can just hear you ROARing in that rain, I do swear. If it’s any consolation at all, it gets easier, takes less time, the more you do. Sigh. It’s a lot of work for dinner, surely. Wish I could share it with you…

    CC, you KNOW I am proud of you too!

    Stef, I am so with you, though Tom will at least eat the squash ravioli: my issue with him is CHEESE. This is an enormous culinary obstacle. He accepts commercial mozzarella on a pizza but that’s it, even turning his nose up at my own mozzarella. Indeed, when I make a cheesy ravioli, I make potato-filled ones for him. Sigh. Walnuts, though! Tis the season to do more foraging, thanks for the reminder.

    Sylvie, hum, I dunno. I call it “yay, what a find” as I had about 6 that lasted a long time. Yeah, I know what you mean: the compost IS such a good provider. What I have figured out, this year, is that if I plant the seeds IN compost, my chances of getting a decent harvest go way up. Sweet potatoes, though! Forgot to order them, and I was unable to make slips with my friend’s 3 organic ones she gave me. NEXT YEAR must order.

  14. Awsome article and right to the point. I don’t know if this is actually the best place to ask but do you guys have any ideea where to hire some professional writers? Thx 🙂

  15. What i do not understood is actually how you are not really much more well-liked than you might be right now. You are so intelligent. You realize thus considerably relating to this subject, made me personally consider it from so many varied angles. Its like men and women aren’t fascinated unless it one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs nice. Always maintain it up!

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