winter squash bars

The freezer.

The major challenge I face with regard to processing and storing all the produce we receive with our farm share is the limited space in the freezer. We agreed to get a chest freezer this summer, but haven’t wanted to go ahead with that purchase until we get the basement repairs taken care of. Which leaves us with the fridge freezer, which is about half full of fruit from the summer (tart cherries, blueberries, and rhubarb) and 1/4 full of other prepared food (pesto, hummus, baba ghanouj, chicken stock, and tomato sauce). Which leaves about 1/4 of the freezer for regular things (butter, bread, coffee beans, salmon, and turkey burgers) and any additional prepared food I might try to fit in. You begin to see my problem, and this is after removing the bottle of gin with an inch at the bottom that my partner pointed out was occupying prime real estate in the door (‘Gin? What gin? I don’t have a bottle of gin in the freezer, what kind of alcoholic do you think I am, sheesh. Oh, that bottle of gin…’). I really should just drink that and be done with it.

One of the other containers taking up space in the freezer was a quart of cooked squash from last winter, most likely butternut. At any rate, 4 cups of squash. In order to make room in the freezer for the cooked pumpkin from this year that is destined to be pie in a few weeks, I thawed out the already-frozen squash and used it to make Winter Squash Bars:

Winter Squash Bars, from Simply in Season
(yields 24-32 bars)

Beat together in a mixing bowl:
2 cups winter squash (cooked, pureed)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine separately and then mix into the wet ingredients:
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pour into lightly greased 11 x 17” jelly roll pan. Bake in preheated oven at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

As with just about every recipe I’ve made from Simply In Season, the bars were really good. In addition to using up squash, they use up eggs, 4 per batch (so if you also have more eggs than you know what to do with from, for example, your CSA, this recipe will help get rid of them). More like gingerbread than cookie bars, they were a hit with everyone: me, my partner, my friend from high school, her mother, my partner’s gaming guys. Four cups made two batches, about 5 dozen bars in all. While they still tasted good after being stored in tupperware overnight, the tops went from a nice bright orange to a bit brown; don’t be put off by that if it happens to you.

The next squash plan is soup, if I can (1) get some apples at the farmers’ market and (2) make some room in the freezer.

winter squash bars


One of the surprising aspects of our farm share arrangement is the volume of turnips that we have received. I don’t remember if we knew ahead of time that turnips were a major crop, but if we did learn that, I didn’t really understand what that would mean. What it’s meant is that we have received dozens of (smallish) turnips, of several varieties, over the course of the past few months. I have always liked turnips, so this hasn’t been a problem in terms of taste, especially since the particular turnips we’ve received are tender, sweet, and fresh out of the ground when they’re delivered to us.

The challenge is more one of volume. I could, and probably will, fall back on simply roasting turnips as a vegetable dish, but I prefer to find recipes that include turnips as a main ingredient. I’ve found three this fall that I’ve liked—turnips and greens soup, a Marrakesh lamb stew from Simply In Season (that I make with ground turkey), and a chicken soup. Over the course of the fall, I’ve used about a crisper drawer’s worth of turnips in this manner, a fact of which I’m rather proud.

That being said, I currently have a crisper drawer, plus an additional gallon bag, full of turnips. As a result, I find myself trolling the internets looking for turnip recipes. I could try some of Mr. Neep’s suggestions, many of which look quite good, or look through the lists on any number of other cooking sites. A quick read suggests that I can (1) make them into a soup, (2) cook them with butter, (3) mash them with butter, and/or (4) eat them at the side of a big hunk of mammal or mixed in with cheese. Option four doesn’t meet our stringent household dietary codes, but I am pretty sure I can work with the other three categories.

Mmm, turnips. Conveniently, it’s lunchtime.