Hold on to your butts

Storing butternut squashThe memory of nearly chopping off a finger is one that stays with you.

But let me back up a bit.

Years ago, when we first subscribed to our CSA, I fell in love with butternut squash, with it’s rich, earthy flavor and flesh that was slightly firmer than its summer cousins’.

Notice I said “slightly” firmer.

When winter came and the CSA ended, I was jonesing for a pan of butternut squash lasagna, so I picked up a couple of gourds from the grocery. No worries, right?

Placing one squash on the cutting board, I gave it a good whack with the vegetable knife, expecting it to yield, as all those from the farm had done.

And that’s when I discovered commercially-sold veg is picked far too early for transport and is approximately 1,001 times harder than fresh-from-the-garden.

The knife bounced frighteningly fast and landed on my hand. Somehow I managed to pull back on the knife while moving the hand enough to avoid catastrophe. I bled like a stuck pig but still had all ten digits intact.

Since then, I have learned two important lessons: 1) don’t whack vegetables like a maniac and 2) stock up on fresh, local bnuts for the winter.

According to Farmer Jenny, if unblemished, they can stay on the counter for three to four months. With blemished squash, just cut in half, remove seeds and pulp, bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes until soft, then scoop the goodness into a freezer bag.

For $30, we’ve got six months worth of squash tucked away. And all my fingers can breathe a sigh of relief.

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