Lately I've been making little jars of tasty condiments, something to liven up a diet of beans and rice or beans and mush. We're not eating that way right now, the menfolk are on the Atkin's diet so we eat a lot of meat and cheese, eggs and low carb veggies. But the garden put forth a goodly quantity of butternut squash and we have to use that too. I can't do strict Atkins--I love my vegetables too much to give up the higher carb ones, but I'll cook the Atkins for the guys.
So my problem was what do I do with all this butternut squash? Michael and Terry don't want to eat it right now (which is insane, since butternuts are so delicious, even if a bit high carb). I started looking for recipes for using the squash in interesting, if odd, ways. Butternut squash is a terrific food, very tasty and nutritious. If you check the link, you'll find it is very high in vitamin A. And ever since I read about it over at Stealth Survival, I've gotten into eating "rainbow veggies, that is, veggies of all different colors. Nothing looks prettier on a plate than say, pureed butternut squash and a serving of nettles or spinach. Anyway... back to the topic at hand.
I found a recipe for butternut squash marmalade of all things. It's simple and delicious, and if you have the same plethora of butternuts in your garden that I do, you might want to give it a try. Since I found this on the web, it's only fair I direct you over to it and you can watch the video and read the recipe for yourself. This is really good: sweet and yet the flavor of the butternut comes though loud and clear. Yum!
Then, in the Joy of Pickling that I mentioned the other day, I found a recipe for a crisp pickled pumpkin or winter squash. Perfect, I thought. I'll pickle a bunch of it. At least we'll try it and see if we like it. My husband and brother tend to prefer the ordinary foods we've eaten all our lives, but I confess to liking the weird and out of the way. So here's a nifty recipe for the butternut squash pickle. I've got to wait a few weeks before eating it to let the pickle flavor develop, so I'll let you all know later if I like it.
Crisp Pickled Pumpkin or Squash
(makes 4 pints)
3 1/2 pound pumpkin or winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (about 9 cups)
2 tablespoons pickling salt
4 whole cloves
8 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf crumbled
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
4 thin slices fresh ginger, slivered
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1. In a bowl, toss the pumpkin or squash with the pickling salt. Let the cubes rest for 2-3 hours.
2. Drain the cubes, rinse them, and drain them again. Pack them into pint mason jars.
3. Tie the cloves, peppercorns and bay leaf in a spice bag or scrap of cheesecloth. In a saucepan, combine the spice bag with the vinegar, sugar, ginger and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer the liquid 10 minutes.
4. Remove the spice bag from the pan and pour the hot liquid over the pumpkin or squash, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with two piece caps. Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 3 weeks before eating the pickle. After opening the jars, store in the fridge.
And there you go. The pickle sounds like it would taste good, and it certainly would be a break from a steady rice and beans diet. You might want to try making some different condiments to supplement your stored foods as well.
Why Odd's Condiments in the title? Well, simple. If I get to making a bunch of weird condiments and foods (weird at least for Indiana), then Odd's Condiments would be a great name for the lable. :)
Oh, one last note--I canned the butternut squash marmalade. The recipe didn't say to do that--you could probably just store your jar of it in the fridge--but I had a load going in the canner anyway, and if you want to give these as gifts to friends, can it. Boiling water bath, 10 minutes.