Yesterday, on my way home from doing errands I stopped at the thrift store and purchased several interesting metal and enamel dishes. Today my Dad came over and drilled drainage holes in the bottom of each container.
Some I planted with succulents and others I planted with miniature plants. These dishes are wonderful re-purposed to become patio and countertop container gardens. We will have them for sale at our Farm Stand store this spring and by that time they will have rooted in nicely and filled out beautifully.
Last year we also grew a number of these terra cotta clay succulent gardens and folks really enjoyed them. Today I planted up a dozen of them with both succulents and fairy garden plants. I think they will be very nice by April when Open Farm Days begin.
All winter long I’ve been storing and cooking winter squash and pumpkins of various kinds that grew in our garden last summer. Many years back I would store these vegetables and never cook them because seeding and peeling them was so difficult to do before I cooked them. Thankfully, my sister clued me in one time about a super easy way to cook squash that takes all that difficulty out of the process.
These are red kuri squash. I set them in my roasting pan and take a sharp knife and slice several 1 inch long slices through the peel into the flesh. These slices act as steam venting holes when the squash or pumpkins are cooking in the oven. I pre-heat my oven to about 300 degrees. When the oven is hot, I pour in about 2 inches of water into the roasting pan and then set the whole thing with the squashes, just as you see them here, in the oven and let them slowly cook. When the squash or pumpkin starts to cave in on itself, then it is done.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool down somewhat. Then it is an easy process to slice open the squash, scoop out all the seeds and cavern stinginess. Once that is accomplished, I use a large severing spoon to scoop out all the cooked flesh from the rind. The rind and strings are discarded to the compost pile. The seeds can be composted too or you can roast them in a cast iron skillet with a bit of butter and sea salt for a snack. They are delicious!
The cooked flesh is ready to become whatever you would like it to become. It can be mashed with butter and a tiny bit of brown sugar and cinnamon and eaten like sweet potatoes, puree and made into a tasty winter soup, cooked into pumpkin bread or biscuits…there are lots of ways to use it. If you have too much to use at one time…no problem, just put it into a freezer container and save it in the freezer for another time.
In truth, this has to be the simplest and easiest way I know of to cook your winter squashes and pumpkins, no matter what variety they are. Enjoy!