Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We Are Gourd Enthusiasts

So I have to make a confession. We planted WAY too much squash in our first year. So much that some of it has ended up in a compost pile. I know...I know. It's embarrassing, especially when we know that there are people who would want and need it. Anyways, what's done is done for this season and we will smarten up next year, I promise.

To be honest with you I didn't know all that much about winter squash this spring when we were planning what to plant. Gourds, to me, were somewhat mysterious vegetables that pop up for awhile at the grocery store in the fall and mostly old people ate them. The only winter squashes I think that I have ever eaten were spaghetti squashes, which my mom forced on us as an alternative to pasta when she went through a Suzanne Sommers diet phase, and butternut squash, which I liked mostly because I imagined they tasted like butter.

So this year turned out to be a big squash experiment. It turns out that one squash plant produces A LOT of squash. And you can imagine what that translates to when you plant over 1000 square feet of winter squash. Although we did our best to sell, give away, pawn off, and eat all the squash we had, we just couldn't get it off the field in time.

Needless to say, next year our strategy for squash will be much different. For one thing we certainly won't plant as much. I am thinking one or two 100' rows per variety.

I have also been trying my hand at saving seed and collecting some different and unusual varieties of squash that will look beautiful on the market table. Thanks to my partner Bryce, who found this awesome little farm stand in Richmond, we have managed to collect Red Kuris, Shamrocks, Carnivals, Delicatas, Cinderella pumpkins and these gourds that when dried have a hard shell and are good for crafts.

This is certainly a tasty way to acquire seeds as we are eating our way through each squash and saving the seeds as we go. My favorite so far is the Delicata squash which tastes similar to a sweet potato when roasted and has a thin skin that you can eat.

The other awesome thing you can do with all winter squashes (not just pumpkins) is roast the seeds with a bit of salt and eat them. We have gotten really into this around the house lately, so much so, that Bryce made us take home a bunch of orphan pumpkins from the farm last weekend just so he can keep eating seeds throughout the winter.

If any of you happen to get your hands on some leftover pumpkins or end up buying any winter squashes I highly suggest you save the seeds and eat them! I soak mine in a salty brine overnight and then roast them on a cookie sheet for 45 minutes or so at 250 F. Delicious.

So it turns out that there is more to winter squash then we thought. Live and learn. Next year we will aim for less volume and more diversity. Hopefully by then more people will catch our gourd fever and give this awesome winter vegetable a chance.



  1. I'm going to try that pumpkin seed technique. And I never knew what a Gourd was until now.

  2. Vince. I hear gourds make you swim faster...

  3. well, I better get on that then.