Eating Local in the Lean Months: Winter Squash

Seven months after harvest, it’s still fresh and ready to eat: Local winter squash. This is one of my own: it was purchased at the co-op in Bismarck. I don’t know the name of this variety, but it’s beautiful, stayed fresh for over 7 months, and tasted great, too!

I’ve heard people say that if they were forced to eat local in our climate, they’d starve to death in the lean months. But traditionally, people got through the winter just by eating what was available around here — and that’s still possible with a little planning.

I’ll devote another post to traditional methods of food storage without refrigeration, but I want to celebrate the long-lived winter squash varieties in this post. Squash is one traditional food that keeps for a long time at room temperature, no special preservation needed. We have some great winter squash varieties here that are well adapted to our climate, and can keep a long time on storage. This squash, harvested last September, kept just fine and still tasted great when eaten seven months later, in April.

Pretty soon, we’ll have the first spring greens from this year’s garden and wild plants to eat, which will complete the cycle (and circle) of the year.

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