It has continued to be a busy time here in the holler. First frost has come and gone a week early no less and we have had 3 consecutive night of freezing temperatures. We did finally get a small amount of rain but it continues to be really dry for this time of year. Before frost we scurried around picking everything we could. One of those vegetables still out there was Butternut quash. They were growing on vines in various parts of the garden up fences and trellises and left to ripen and the skins harden in the cool weather of fall. Once that frost danger approaches they must be picked though.
All together I picked about 14 off of 3 vines so not bad for a harvest and plenty for the two of us. This really is one of those plant and forget crops for me. I add plenty of compost when I plant and occasionally train the vines on fences and wires and forget until time to pick. I do prefer to grow the vertically though.
The first three I picked I peeled then chunked up and covered raw with some rich chicken bone broth then pressure canned for 90 minutes (quarts) at 12 pounds of pressure for my altitude. They turned out beautifully and will be used to make butternut soup once opened, heated and pureed with an immersion blender. Then I will add cream and a flour and butter roux as a thickener for a rich and creamy winter soup. Served with fresh garlic croutons and crumbled crispy bacon bits on top.
The seeds were saved and are drying on paper plates while the largest ones will be used for seed stock to replant for years to come. The extra seeds will be roasted in the oven for snacking.
With 11 more squash to go I will bake some of these and scoop out the meat to mash and freeze for holiday pies and breads.
The fall season is beautiful right now with the leaves turning colors and we have been enjoying nightly fires with the cooler temperatures. We have been gathering lots of walnuts and wild persimmons. I still have a bit of canning to do with frozen fruit that was picked earlier in the year. A couple gallon bags of blackberries again need to be made into pie filling and canned to clear some space in the freezer. We have a pig that is being butchered from a local farmer next month so I need to make room.
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter