Are You Still Eating From Your Garden?
This month we held an apple Champagne and pumpkin pie party but of course we lied. It wasn’t real Champagne. By law, as Helpful Husband pointed out, Champagne has to come from a very narrow region of France. Our “Champagne” came from apples in our back yard.
The is what 100 pounds of apples looks like. They ripened early this year and we had more than we could eat and make into pies so we pressed 100 pounds into service of a different kind. You know apples are ready for eating or wine making when the seeds inside are brown. Once picked and weighed, they were dropped off at a local winery where they were crushed, fermented and carbonated to make our fake Champagne.
But that wasn’t our worst lie. Our pumpkin pie was made from Red Kuri winter squash, not pumpkins.
Why did we use winter squash? Unless you grow or buy cooking pumpkin there won’t be much taste. Red Kuri, also called Potimarron winter squash is a dark orange, thin skinned winter squash and I was told it made beautiful pies. So we used homegrown winter squash and it was a huge success.
The 2019 Red Kuri winter squash harvest is picture here with the butternut winter squash in behind it just before we put them away in a cupboard for winter.
I made nine pies from four squash. One guest told me she saved seed from a Red Kuri squash I gave her last year. Saving seed is usually a no-no with squash because they readily cross with neighbouring squash and the plants grown from the seeds of one plant turn into something completely different. But growing the Red Kuri squash from my seed worked for Rebecca and now she is giving seed back to me which is a good thing because I used all my seed to grow this year’s crop.
Some of the nine pies I made served over forty guests in early November. No one knew they were “fake” pumpkin pies – until I told them.
I originally got my squash seed from a Seedy Saturday event after someone there told me it was the best cooking squash ever. I love the exchange of info that happens when gardeners get together and this year I will be speaking again at the Seedy Saturday in Calgary (read more here.)
Squash are after-ripening in my greenhouse in early September
The squash I have will last until spring because I made sure they were seasoned in my greenhouse before I brought them indoors. This means I let them after-ripen so there is no green showing. This year I cooked my last butternut squash in August 2019 from the 2018 harvest because they really do last that long.
So go ahead – use up your apples in pies or use your pumpkins in pies or go all out and use your other winter squash in pie and call it pumpkin pie. Probably the only thing you have to be careful of is making Champagne from winter squash. Or if you do, you better call it something else: like Sparkling Squash wine. Because pumpkin Champagne would be a lie.
PS Do you have questions about Gardening? Join in the conversation on my facebook live event every Monday by clicking right HERE.
Donna Balzer is the Brand Ambassador for BCGreenhouse Builders and she has two greenhouses in her big backyard.