Two individual categories in every seed catalog.
Summer squash is soft skinned, designed for eating young and tender. Usually yellow or green. Soft and (to me) a bit mushy. Usually served with skin and seeds with just a light sauté. Zucchini. Crookneck. These are summer squashes.
A plant or two in your garden will keep your family supplied with summer squash. Extras find their way into zucchini breads, hot dishes, your church’s garden swap, or maybe your neighbor’s back step.
Summer squash will ripen and the skin will harden to the point of no entry. Or entry only by hatchet!
Winter squash is much less prolific. Vines ramble out of the garden yet set only a few fruit. Old fashion varieties may only produce one or two squashes on a twenty foot vine. More modern varieties will ripen three, four, or maybe five fruit by the time Jack Frost pays a visit.
Winter squashes are not ready for harvest until the stem turns ‘corky’, losing its juicy green appearance. Winter squash needs time to cure in the September sun and then more time indoors, safe from frost and fall rains. A few winter squash like Delicata and Acorn can be eaten soon after harvest. Buttercup needs a couple weeks of cure time; Butternut is at its prime eating quality by November or December.
Sunshine, Red Kuri, and Potimarron start to lose their sweetness by New Years. Butternut will serve up wonderful sweet squash into February and March. We have had Triamble and Queensland Blue on our plates in March and April. Sunday, April 19, 2015, we ate the last sound Butternut. Roasted and delicious!
Sunshine Red Kuri Potimarrron
Eat summer squash in the summer and winter squash in the … winter, not in the summer, not in the fall. Winter squash is for winter.
For now …..We wait for warmer soil to plant our WINTER squash seed.
Alissa & Nathan Van Zweden, Alissa’s Flowers
Falls Park Farmers Market, Sioux Falls:
May 3 to October 25
Saturdays 8 am-1 pm