Not Delicate

I will receive no better reminder of the need to eat the last delicata squash harvested last fall…

…than the discovery this morning that the volunteer squash plants taking over my small home garden plot…

…are delicata squash vines with, drumroll please, their first tiny delicata squash on board. That is my best guess, anyway. It is so very tiny.

Aren’t the flowers beautiful? Click on the picture to make it bigger.

When the delicata squash came up last spring as volunteers in my community garden plot, Eric and I, co-caretakers of the plot at that time, didn’t know what the fruit were. Our best guess was pumpkins so we let the squash get big. As they grew, though, I did some poking around google images and identified the fruit as delicata. Letting them get large did not, luckily, spoil their flavor.

At the end of the season, I had at least a dozen in my basement. As of today, one remained. I thought nine months was an extraordinary amount of time for a winter squash to survive in a basement, but a casual look around the web finds tales of winter squash lasting up to 18 months. At nine months, mine showed no signs of giving up. Just look at the water rising to the surface seconds after I cut off the top.

A miracle, it is.

That marvel is now baking in my oven with oregano, savory, salt, pepper, flour, olive oil and water. Assuming Lacey is game, we will have it with pasta and pesto for dinner tonight. Cubed cucumbers and cherries, too.

Be well!


6 responses to “Not Delicate

  1. Three blog posts in 3 days? Wow!

    OK, I actually think it IS a miracle that your delicata lasted so long! In my experience, they are not long lasting squashes, I always thought they were a delicate (!) squash, as evidenced by the fact that you can eat their skin. Farmers have always told me not to store them for too long, so I am super impressed!!

    I have volunteer tomato plants and summer squash plants coming out of my composting bins at work like crazy! I haven’t chopped a tomato for 12 months!

    Ah, summer.

    • I read that delicata was so named because of the delicate skins, but I think the risk was not so much a short life in the cellar as a risk of damage in transport. As I understand it, this is why I didn’t see delicata in the big box groceries as a kid. In any event, I doubt any produce hangs around your kitchen for more than a couple of days, so whatever!

      Tomatoes! They all but left my life, too! I picked the first paste tomato this morning. It wasn’t quite ready, but I couldn’t resist. It will be sampled tonight. Hooray!

      Thanks for writing. Take care!

  2. AH! That makes a lot of sense. Delicate to travel, not to store. You really do learn something every day. : )

    • That said, your farmer friends may be right when it comes to the right sized delicatas. We harvested a few at what I suspect was the right size-roughly eight inches long and shaped like a zucchini. Those, unfortunately, died in my closet without getting eaten last April or so. Maybe the longevity of the others was tied to the excessive length of time on the vine. Most were about the size of bowling balls! After all, we thought they were pumpkins. We actually thought the orange stripes would grow to meet, thus eliminating the yellow parts. Super garden dorks!

  3. Is it better to stop and smell the roses, or to go and smell squash blossoms which have been thinly veiled in batter and fried? Not quite a koan, but worth contemplating nonetheless…

    • Your puzzle humbles me, sir. I will need some time with it.

      More practically, at the Schenectady farmer’s market there was a stand selling five squash blossoms for a dollar. Before I buy any, or pick mine, I hope to be in your kitchen when you are frying some up. I have never done it and hesitate to risk ruining such a precious ingredient.

      Speak to you soon!

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