Storing winter squash

We’ve still got quite the supply of pie pumpkins and butternut squash.  We love them both very much and started the winter off with a vanload.  See the picture from Courtney’s post a month ago.

Storing them was easy.  We brought them home from our friend’s house and cleaned them up with a wet rag and a bucket of water.  I let them dry in the garage overnight, because I didn’t want excess water soaking in to the top of our kitchen cabinets.  The next day we arranged them on top of the cabinets.  Done.  I didn’t do anything else to them.  I’ve read that it might be a good idea to dip them in a clorox/water solution as a way of preventing mold, etc but I didn’t do that.

I wondered how long they would keep.  Now I know it is about five months.  At the beginning of February I went through and inspected each one.  There were two or three that were getting soft and a few more that were developing a small amount of white fuzzy mold at the bottom.  All of those were thrown away.  That was a tough one for me, because you all know that I don’t like to throw things away.  Having a food scientist for a wife helps keep the gray areas of what is acceptable to eat or not well defined and very narrow.  I was tempted at first to simply cut out the bad spots and cook the rest as a way to salvage the pumpkin.  Courtney says “no” because fungi usually have very extensive root systems, meaning that if we see a little surface mold then the flesh of the pumpkin is likely full of mold roots.  As an interesting side note, see this Wikipedia article on the 2200 acre fungus patch in Oregon.

Today I see that there are a few more showing signs of wear, so we’ll have to do another wave of winnowing.  It is probably time to bake the last of them and freeze as much as we can.

Here’s a picture of a good one and a bad one.  Its pretty easy to tell them apart.

I should also mention, though, that the butternuts keep much longer.  We only threw one away so far and it was because the skin was scraped and therefore weakened.  They are good keepers.

Thanks, Robert.

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