Marcelle St. Germain
Step by Step, Big Ugly
Seems like we just planted our gardens yesterday, but the calendar and cooler temperatures say otherwise. Garden produce is ending, just a few last squash, pumpkins, peppers, and potatoes coming in. Hundreds of quarts of produce have been canned and frozen, baskets of squash, pumpkins, and potatoes are resting in cool, dry, dark spots, ready to feed Big Ugly families over the next few months.
But gardening isn’t quite over for some; this is the time to sow cold weather crops such as kale, mustard, collards. As long as they are covered when the temperatures dip really low, or it snows, you can have fresh greens all winter long. And covering them to protect them isn’t that hard- all those leaves falling from the trees work to insulate and protect them very well, plus enrich the soil as they disintegrate over the winter. And best of all, they’re free.
This is also the time to explore different ways to use those squash and pumpkins: add diced butternut squash to your chilis and stews, make a savory (rather than sweet) pumpkin-butternut squash soup to eat with hot-from-the-oven bread (my personal favorite!), or make a sauce to put over pasta instead of the traditional marinara- the possibilities are endless.
Here’s an alternative to mashed potatoes to get you started:
–1 medium butternut squash, halved and seeded
–1T chopped fresh basil
–1T chopped fresh oregano
–1t chopped fresh sage
–2T dark brown sugar
–kosher salt to taste
–enough milk to thin to desired consistency
Bake the squash at 375* until it’s soft; scoop out of the shell, and mash with the remaining ingredients. Goes really well with chicken or pork.