Quite late on Saturday night I remembered the cold that was coming and the promise of our first real hard frost. The squash! The potatoes! With just a little bit of panic in my voice, Adelaide and Harper jumped to task, eager to help out. By headlamp, those two little ones carried every last bucket of potatoes, every last (and big) pumpkin and squash still left in the garden shed. How grateful I am for their help - they saved the day! Or the squash, rather.
With the kitchen table full and overflowing with all of that, plus all the apples that have been coming in (thanks to our amazing neighbor, whose orchard is years ahead of ours), much of the weekend was spent working on clearing that table. Finding a place for everything and preserving what I could. And of course, making some yummy treats to eat along the way.
We don't have a great root cellar food storage solution at this point. With a bit more work, our cellar will hopefully be up for the job in a few years. For now, it can handle squash and potatoes, apples and the like for a little while, but certainly not as long as we'd like. That means the best way of keeping these things longer is by canning, of course, and freezing. As such, nearly all the pie pumpkins (something like thirty? Oh my) were roasted, pureed, and then put into the freezer in 3 cup increments. These will be perfect for pulling out and quickly thawing to add to a stew, or baked goods, or whatever the case may be. Plus all the other squash now lining the cellar stairs! What a bountiful year it was for the squash and how glad I am (row covers, I'm giving you all the credit for keeping those squash bugs at bay). So squash it is, on the dinner table more often than not these days. A few pumpkin favorites that have made their way onto the table of late:
- pumpkin mac and cheese (which I made not exactly but a little something like this)
- these Oatmeal To-Go Pumpkin muffins have been a huge hit, and I've been freezing them as well for a quick breakfast snack as my high schooler heads out the door in the morning
- Heidi's Pumpkin and Rice soup made its first appearance of the season, with more to come
- By combining the two very things that are plentiful in the kitchen these days, I made all the bellies happy with this Autumn Apple and Pumpkin Galette (I tripled the recipe and made tiny ones, so we had them for days!)
- smoothies! I've been experimenting with pumpkin in my morning smoothie (more on this soon!)
- And of course, there have been pumpkin seeds and all manner of variations in spicing and flavoring and much snacking
And some things I've got my eye on to try in the coming days:
- Salted Pumpkin Caramels (seriously???)
- Honey Pumpkin Biscuits, which just sound like the ultimate in comfort
- and with a freezer full of pork now, this Pork and Pumpkin Stew most definitely will be made soon
Though these days of roasting, pureeing, canning and freezing are long....I know that they are short-lived. That soon enough all of this will be tucked away for the season where it belongs. Those on the cellar stairs that can hang in there a little bit longer. The shelf full of squash in the vegetable freezer. And what a satisfying feeling that is, and comforting to know it's there at the ready for us in the long wintry season to come. And while we may not be bringing fresh and new treats in from the garden anymore, we're finding fresh and new ways to enjoy that which is already put by. What a blessing that is.