Butchering Day

We grow a fair amount of squash, and it usually gets eaten throughout the year – roasted whole, tossed with pasta, turned into soup, or baked into muffins. Most years, I cook one of the big guys and freeze the pulp in glass jars (this is often the remainder of a jack-o-lantern), but in 2016 I never got around to it, so this monster has been taking up space in our house for about a year (the pumpkin, not my husband). πŸ™‚

Hubby with the curcurbit in question.

Pumpkins don’t often last so long, but this one kept holding on, despite having been gnawed on by a squirrel last fall (amazingly, the wound scarred over nicely and didn’t rot!). Since we were about to have a wave of new squash ripening in the garden, and I’m not one to waste perfectly good food, the decision was made to carve that puppy up.

It was amazingly plump and firm after a whole year. This is an Amish Pie pumpkin, a variety that I’ve noticed lasting well before, but this is extraordinary. It was even sitting outside on our deck all summer (doubling as our kitten’s preferred perch), not in a cool, dark space like it should have been. I would highly recommend growing these, if you’re in the market for a long keeper. Needless to say, I have saved some seeds, and will be planting them regularly from now on.

Another benefit of the Amish Pie is the smooth texture of the exterior – no grooves or bumpy contours makes it very easy to peel.

Skinning and carving.

Rather than roasting and pureeing like I usually do, we decided to chop it and freeze for use in soups and stews.

I grew up in a family of farmers and hunters, so butchering days were something I experienced on more than one occasion. This definitely had the same feel about it – a crisp fall day, family gathered in the kitchen, chatting and carefully carving up, packaging, and freezing the bounty (without the trauma of knowing it used to be an animal I’d loved and cared for!).

We didn’t think to weigh the pumpkin before we started, but ended up with 27 pounds of cubed flesh stowed away in the freezer, and I composted almost that much in trimmings, so it must have been close to 50 pounds.

Butternut Coconut Red Lentil Curry

We have a favourite Butternut Coconut Red Lentil Curry that we make on a regular basis during the winter (a Vegan Richa recipe); it’s so simple, I’ve even made it on the bbq burner during power outages, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Our stash will be a quick and easy stand-in for the butternut squash. Pumpkin has a bit more water than squash does, so it makes the curry a little thinner, but that’s fine by us, and it will save me buying frozen organic butternut squash for $6 a pop (or spending 20 minutes chopping up a fresh one).

Bring on that famous West Coast weather!

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