The newsletter is coming out a few days early this week, so that we can take the fullest advantage of this small, late window of sunny weather on the farm. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Feel the Love: Give Spaghetti Squash a Chance!
Somehow along the way, spaghetti squash has garnered a bad rap. It’s the quintessential hippie squash. The squash with an identity crisis (Am I a vegetable or am I a noodle?). The squash that gets scoffed at. The squash that nobody eats, nobody buys, and everyone makes fun of.
OK, truth be told, I was one of the perpetrators of this unfair maligning until just this year. For whatever reason, I had my mind made up about spaghetti squash and I thought it was a waste of chewing. My sister tried to convince me otherwise and grew a couple plants last season (2010), which fruited prolifically. But in my narrow-minded stubborn-ness, I chose Delicata every time I made a trip into our squash storage room.
And then, for some reason last winter, I impulsively ordered some spaghetti squash seeds and found room for a half a bed in the crop plan. I had been impressed with how well Abby’s two plants had yielded the summer before, and our 2011 planting did not disappoint. In fact, it overwhelmed. This season, our one hundred feet of spaghetti squash yielded almost 400 big squash (that’s about 4 fruits per vine, compared to some of our other varieties that yield 1-2 squash per plant!). They were vigorous, un-fussy plants, and proved to us that if you’re worried about stocking up for the end of the world, they’re the squash to grow: you get some serious bang for your buck!
But then came the moment of reckoning: how did it taste? At a loss for what to make for dinner a few weeks ago, I cut a spaghetti squash in half, stuffed it in the pressure cooker, and proceeded to overcook it with a vengeance. Short on time, I didn’t make a sauce. I just scooped the soggy spaghetti impostor onto plates and rang the dinner bell. It was without a doubt the most unfair taste trial a person could muster.
I swallowed a forkful. I couldn’t believe it. It was great. Sitting there enjoying my overcooked, under-dressed squash, I had to rake through my conscience: Had I actually ever tried a spaghetti squash before? Was I guilty of hating on spaghetti squash for no good reason? Had I formed my strong opinion of it based on anything real, on an actual legitimate complaint? What bad thing had spaghetti squash ever done to me or to the world?
In a moment of shameful discomfort, I realized that up until that point I had been a spaghetti squash bigot. And that the same kind of uncompromising close-mindedness is what brings about terrible wars and genocide and hate crimes and bullying and general, everyday mean-ness.
So this is my plea: open your mind and then open your mouth (if they need opening). Give spaghetti squash a chance. I think you will be happily surprised, even if you overcook it, and the world might just become that much better a place for your efforts.
A few eating tips:
- Many recipes I’ve come across say to cook your spaghetti squash in the microwave. Pierce squash (about an inch deep) all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting. Cook in an 800-watt microwave oven on high power (100 percent) for 6 to 7 minutes. Turn squash over and microwave until squash feels slightly soft when pressed, 8 to 10 minutes more. Cool squash for 5 minutes.
- You can also bake it in your oven. Preheat to 350. Pierce it with a knife as above, put the whole squash in the oven on a tray, and bake for about an hour, or until soft to the touch. You can also halve it, brush the cut sides with butter, and then bake face-down on a cookie sheet until fork-tender, 35 minutes to an hour.
- Once your squash is cooked fork-tender, cool it for a few minutes and then rake out the stranded “noodly” flesh with a fork into a bowl.
- Dress it up with anything: marinara sauce, butter and herbs, pesto, cream sauce with chantarelles, or anything else you can invent.
Here are a couple recipes I found when I did a quick epicurious.com search:
In your share this week:
- Head Lettuce
- Yellow Onions
- Winterbor Kale
- Spaghetti Squash
Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.
This is the debut of Winterbor kale, the frilliest, puffiest, hardiest kale known to Valley Flora! This is the kale that sees us through the winter, getting sweeter and sweeter as the cold gets deeper. It’s wonderful steamed up, but we also use it raw (finely minced) in kaleslaw, our standby winter salad.
Storage: In a plastic bag in the fridge, for at least a week. Or in a vase of water on your counter, so long as your house isn’t too toasty roasty.
Farm Fact of the Week*
If you took an iron to all of the winterbor kale leaves growing at Valley Flora, flattened them out, and then stitched them together into a kale quilt, they would cover the entire surface area of the Northern hemisphere. It wouldn’t be a very warm quilt, but it would be a big quilt.
*This week’s farm fact is pure B.S. We have no idea what we are talking about, except to say that Winterbor is one mighty frizzy kale.