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 large squash, which actually outweigh those of small ones. Just off the top of my head I can think of four reasons large squash are better than small.
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 ones might well produce more pounds of squash per square foot, than do the small. Certainly, larger squash are easier to harvest than a myriad of little squash to be brought in, out of the field.
Large Squash Generally Keep Longer in Storage
Last week a friend of mine cut and processed a large 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.
Prepared Correctly Large Squash Can be More Convenient.
That’s right! Which is easier, to cut, seed and cook a small squash, whenever you want it; or pull out a bag of precooked, pre-measured squash, which only needs to be thawed and warmed?
I cut and bake a large squash, 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.
Finally, we can consider that…
There are often plenty of larger squash and pumpkins 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!
Just another tip from the homestead.