I am super pleased with the keeping quality of the 2012 butternut squash harvest. In the fall I was worried that I had inadvertently introduced a more stringy texture to my fourth generation of self-saved seeds, either through selection or by inbreeding depression. I’m pleased to report that they did not all have the spaghetti squash like texture, and that the flavour of those that did was still very good. Once mashed the texture was not noticeable.
There are eight squash left, which should be enough for the table and the chickens until the spring greens harvest starts. My ‘Small Sugar’ pumpkins also kept exceptionally well lasting well in to February, which is rare for me. As I prefer butternut squash above pumpkins, the chickens actually ate most of the pumpkins and got their first squash yesterday. It appears they also prefer squash as they devoured it in an afternoon, compared to the two days they typically take with a pumpkin.
I currently have Healing Spices: How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease by Bharat B. Aggarwal (New York: 2011, Sterling Publishing Co.) out from the library and as a result of my reading I was inspired to add a few more spices to a soup I started making last year. I also got the idea to tie a lemongrass leaf in a knot and pop it in soups or stews like a bay leaf. Based on my squash soup experience, I’m totally sold on this idea!
The book is great: I’d actually consider buying it. It talks about the health benefits of various spices but also has recipes and recommendations for pairing with food for each. It’s the kind of book that I can see browsing through at intervals to inspire new flavour combinations in my cooking and perhaps new plants in my garden.
Here is my newly modified recipe:
Spicy Coconut Lemongrass Soup
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic, cut in half centre stalk removed if necessary
2 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp (heaped) dried chilies
1 stalk/leaf lemongrass tied in knots
1 1/2 my medium (likely grocery store large) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
6 cups hot water
1 can coconut milk
Fry onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add spices and continue to fry 1 – 2 minutes until fragrant. Add cubed squash, lemongrass knot, and water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender and easily mashes with fork. Remove pot from heat. Using potato masher and immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Stir in coconut milk, return to medium heat until soup is hot. Add up to 1 tsp salt, or to taste.
tie lemongrass leaves in a knot and use in soups like bay leaf!