I have some humongous squashes, and no that isn’t a rude euphemism for something, I truly have some whopping, mammoth, honking, great squashes. The largest of the lot weighs in at just over 3.4kg, and is 30cm (12inches) in length. These 5 are the largest that I decided to rescue from the allotment, while the rest have been left to either grow or mature on the plants. If the weather stays good they may put on a bit more growth, especially as I’ve cut these ones away, giving the plants a bit more energy (or relief, like giving birth to an enormous baby). I think there are another 6 or so of varying, but smaller, sizes. It’s hard to say exactly how many there are, as they have a tendency to hide beneath the huge leaves, and just when you think you’ve counted them all, you spot another one and think, ‘did I count that one already?’ and by the third attempt you give in.
They’re a butternut variety called Waltham, which was successful for me last year, but I think they’ve surpassed themselves this year. Even though they’re big, they have very few seeds inside, so are easy to prepare in the kitchen. They took a long time to get going, and at one point I was sceptical I’d have any squashes at all this year, but then all of a sudden (after the hot spell had broken) they went berserk.
They’re still quite green at the moment, in a week or so they’ll turn a nice creamy colour which darkens to a pale gold hue over time. If you’re harvesting squashes, make sure to keep a fair bit of the stem attached, it helps them to ripen properly. The smallest one of this bunch will never get to that golden stage. A bit earlier it was peeled, deseeded, cut into chunks, topped with garlic, thyme and olive oil, accompanied by a few sausages and potatoes, and right now it is roasting in the oven for dinner. Whatever is left will be blitzed into soup. I have my first cold of the season, despite the sunshine today, and right now I can think of nothing better than a steaming bowl of roasted butternut squash soup.
UPDATE: after watching the bake-off last night (which was all about sweet dough) I might have to try making some of these Quick Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with my squash. I discovered Kate’s blog fairly recently, and it’s great to see so many veg based cakes and desserts, a girl after my own heart, and something I’ll be referring to a lot I think.