Bringing in the Sheaves

Well, bringing in, anyway.

The brugmansia got cut back to the biggest stems, dug up   –   with attendant root pruning,   as you can imagine –   and replanted ( unceremoniously stuffed, actually) in a contractor-weight   garbage bag. Bill then bumped it downstairs into the   cellar, where it will remain until next spring.

The squash went into the living room while we try to find a storage spot that will stay between 50 and 60 degrees; winter squash rot if they get chilled. My food historian friend Sandy Oliver, editor of Food History News,   whose lifestyle would not be alien to many of her subjects, recommends keeping them under the bed.

This isn’t just about preservation; most hard-shelled squash* are unready at harvest. They need about 6 weeks of aging to develop their smoothest texture and maximum sweetness.

* Everything except acorn, really: butternut, buttercup, Hubbard, you name it and especially Japanese “sweet potato” types like the knobby dark green Black Futsu in the wheelbarrow. It will turn a golden tan before it comes into its glory…

Even if you didn’t grow any winter squash, this is handy to remember, because the great array of nifty, offbeat squash at the farmers’ market will only be there until Thanksgiving.   If you want to enjoy a wider, more delicious (and far more beautiful) assortment than the paltry selection at supermarkets, stock up now while the stocking’s good…

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