For probably half a century popular opinion has held that, when it comes to winter squash, “smaller is better.” The reason given is that an individual or small family can cut, cook and consume a single squash in just one meal. I believe this approach fails to take into account the advantages of larger squash, which actually outweigh those of small ones. Just off the top of my head I can think of four reasons why I love large squash.
Large squash give you more “bang for the buck” than small ones.
If you purchase squash, the larger ones are often cheaper per pound than small, besides having a higher meat to waste ratio. If you grow your own squash, the larger fruited ones might well produce more pounds of squash per square foot, than do the small. Certainly, big squash are easier to harvest than a myriad of little squash to be brought in, out of the field.
I love large squash because they generally keep longer in storage
Last week a friend of mine cut and processed a big winter squash, which he had kept in his kitchen for a year. Smaller squash will tend to dry out faster and either spoil or lose their palatability.
I love large squash because when prepared correctly they be very convenient.
That’s right! Which is easier, to cut, seed and cook a small squash, whenever you want squash; or pull out a bag of precooked, pre-measured squash, which only needs to be thawed and warmed?
I cut and bake most pumpkins, scooping out the flesh and freezing it in 2 cup portions. Labeled and stacked in the freezer, they can last for years. Thawed, they are ready to be served as a side dish or incorporated into a pie or soup recipe.
Ever consider making a pumpkin drink? Try Pumpkin Atole!
Finally, we can consider that…
There are often plenty of larger pumpkins and squash available cheaply, right after Thanksgiving.
Many of these squash are of high quality for eating. Hubbard, Turks Turban, Banana, Cinderella, Delicious and Cheese squash are all found in the piles of ornamental squash, available in stores around this time of year. They may not be cheap now, but right after Thanksgiving they can be dirt cheap! I once purchased a Big Max (giant pumpkin type), weighing over 30 lb. for only $5. The giant pumpkins do not have high quality flesh. Their flesh is coarse, but I baked it, and ran the cooked flesh through a food processor. Presto! The resulting squash was simply wonderful. We enjoyed that $5 squash for months.
So, if you grow squash, consider growing some of the larger fruited varieties. If you purchase your squash, don’t hesitate to buy large ones!
“Pumpkin” and “Squash” are pretty much synonyms, so don’t rule one out on account of the name.
Just another tip from the homestead.