Northeastern Native Americans grew pumpkins and other squashes; they roasted or boiled them, and, at times, preserved the flesh as conserves in syrup. New England settlers were not impressed by the Native Americans’ squash until they had to survive the harsh winters, at which point they adopted squash and pumpkins as staples. We New England localvores have learned the value of winter squash which can be stored for many months without much difficulty. Hubbard, butternut, and acorn-type squashes seem to store best; 50°F in a dark place is recommended . . . but my carnival squash (an acorn-type squash) had been on the kitchen counter since October and was still firm and delicious!
I grew carnival squash for the first time this year and my one plant was prolific, producing 10 beautiful squashes. My favorite uses have been in quesedillas, stuffed squash (with sauteed onions, garlic, walnuts, bread crumbs, cheese, garden sage and nutmeg), and simply mashed with butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg and a touch of maple syrup.
To make a winter squash quesedilla, roast and mash squash and add a bit of salt, buttter and maple syrup. Combine with sauteed onions and garlic, toasted walnuts, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cheese. Spread mix on tortilla* and heat until golden. Top with another tortilla and flip. Cook until both sides are golden. With salsa or sriracha, this is one of my favorite winter meals – simple and delicious. I’ll bet you can find winter squashes at your local winter farmers market.)
- I used Maria & Ricardos’s flour tortillas here, but I have also used Vermont Tortilla Company corn tortillas. Maria & Ricardo’s is in Canton MA and uses organic flour. Vermont Tortilla is made in Shelburne, Vt using organic, stoneground, Champlain Valley corn. And one can always make one’s own tortillas!