Monday, December 21, 2009

Stored sunshine

Throughout the summer and into fall, pumpkins and winter squashes have been marching their way into the kitchen.
What is it about pumpkins? At all the corners of my garden, my baby pumpkins accumulate right by the fencing. It is almost like they run run run as fast as they can, and then when they hit a fence roadblock, they say, "Well, this is a good a place as any," and they flower like crazy and all the pumpkins are piled in a heap by the chicken wire.
The tatume plant employs a a different strategy. It likes to run along the edge of the fence, leaving the fruit at carefully spaced intervals along the way. The plants situate themselves so that the fruit sticks out through the chicken wire fence out into the pathway.
Whatever feng shui strategy the mighty orange ones decide to follow out in the garden, I am in charge after the harvest. I try to keep up with a FIFO system, and have put the babies up on cardboard box pedestals so they won't rot as easily. I dust, rearrange and dote over these orange Hummels, and like chickens, I bring the fresh ones in every night to keep them from predators and let them rest in their "nesting boxes". Every few days, an older pumpkin goes to the chopping block.
Today is the shortest day, but I made up for it by eating plenty of stored sunshine. When I am busy or tired, it just seems like too much work to "boot up" a squash. This week I tried something new. I cut up a buttercup and threw it in the pressure cooker. It cooked for only 12 minutes, and when I was still warm, I put on some local butter and honey. I think this is about the best squash I have ever eaten in my life.
The other squashes are looking a bit nervous, and they have good reason to be worried.

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