Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Great Big Squash

Last weekend we went out to one of our favourite fruit-and-vegetable places that sells local produce (mostly grown right there). They still had great corn (we pressure-cooked it) and the most amazing butternut squash, some about as big as baseball bats, for $2 each. We bought one of the smaller "bats" and Mama Squirrel cooked up about half of it yesterday. Some of it got chopped into our dinner (a big casserole dish combining 1/2 cup pearl barley, 1 cup water, some chopped (raw) squash, four farmers' sausages, a sprinkle of salt and sage--baked until everything was done). Some of it got cut into chunks and cooked in another big casserole dish at the same time, then mashed. The mashed stuff then got made into a batch of pumpkin butter (which does work just about as well with butternut squash). Here's the recipe (it's originally from the Vegetarian Times cookbook). You can halve it if you want just a small batch.

Pumpkin Butter

4 cups pureed pumpkin (or squash)
1/2 to 1 cup honey (or we have also used part brown sugar--it's to your own taste)
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ginger
2 to 3 tbsp. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat for 45-60 minutes, stirring often (and I find it takes longer than that, depending on how much you have and how hot you're cooking it). You'll know it's done when it's very thick, smooth, probably darker than you started with (pumpkin goes darker than squash), and it seems to pull away from the sides of the pot when you stir it. You can seal it in hot, sterilized canning jars, but we don't bother--we just keep it in the fridge. It's good on toast or muffins.


Mama Squirrel said...

P.S.: we had enough left of the casserole to make soup for lunch today. We just sliced the one sausage that was left, put it and the squash and barley into a pot, and added a can of beef-barley soup (since we didn't have any beef broth powder or anything else like that) and enough water to make it soupy. As it cooked, the squash thickened the broth a bit too and it was very good.

coffeemamma said...

Sounds delicious! We will definately be trying the butter!