Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Candystick Dessert Delicata Winter Squash

As a gardener and a parent I am always in pursuit of vegetable varieties that my children will eat. So, when I saw that Carol Deppe had a Delicata squash that was described in her catalogue “as reminiscent of Mediool dates” I decided to give them a try. “Candystick Dessert Delicata” winter squash is a tan cylindrical squash with tan and green stripes. Though the fruit can grow up to 3 pounds, the majority of the delicates I grew from this plant tended to be smaller. The plants I grew produced a prolific crop of these delicatas in a short amount of time.

This is the second generation of Candystick Delicatas I grew this year

The flesh of the Candystick Delicata is very dry and compact and cooks incredibly quick. Baking this squash halved and upside-down in a little water at 375° Fahrenheit, should take – at most – 15 minutes. While Carol Deppe suggested 2-3 weeks for curing, in the desert southwest the sweetness of the squash is more related to how long it had been on the vine, in the heat, than with how long the squash is stored. On the other hand, if you try growing this variety in a cooler climate, curing would definitely be advised. Sweetness also tended to be related to how light colored the flesh was. More mature squash with lighter colored flesh tended to have more sweetness than squash with darker flesh.

Some of the Candystick Delicata Squash Blossoms right after setting.

So, how sweet was this squash? Sweet enough for my kids not to complain about eating squash (which is saying something) but not sweet enough for them to ask for seconds. Because of how dry the flesh is I would highly recommend buttering it after cooking it or having something to drink while you eat it. This delicata would also be very tasty if sautéed onions were added to the cavity of the squash for a fine tasting dinner. With all of this said, this squash is also very good eaten plain. Both my wife and I are not squash fans, but we have gladly eaten these plain. The savory taste and incredible texture make this delicata worth eating all by itself.

The lighter and harder the interior flesh, the sweeter the taste

In short – if you are looking for a dessert for children I would not look to growing squash unless your kids are really desperate or love squash. That being said, the texture of this squash is very good and I could only imagine that this delicata variety could be used to make some incredible pie.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tomatoes Aplenty

From the beginning of May up until a few weeks ago we had plenty of tomatoes. Unfortunately, tomato plants do not last forever – and a spider mite infestation took hold of all my tomato vines before I could manage it.

After many years of work with tomatoes it was nice to have a good harvest

One of my Celebrity tomato plants in May

In consideration of the spider mite damage, I decided to pull out all my old tomato vines and let all my other vegetables grow until I could acquire more starts.

Before a trip I picked all the partially ripe tomatoes to give away