Monday, July 16, 2012
My battle with the squash vine borer, continued
Over the past few weeks the squash in my garden have finally succumbed to the squash vine borer. They marigolds I planted look MUCH better than my poor squash though some of my yellow straightneck squash still as producing. The drought has not helped it at all.
It has taken a bit longer for the squash to die than last year and I did get a better yield than in the previous couple of years but it is sad to see it happen. I know that if I would use pesticides I would not have this problem but I am not willing to do that so I am working on techniques that will give me a continuous crop without using pesticides.
These plants were grown under row covers and were not infested until they were more mature which gave me more squash before they were overcome. This extended my season until my next plants were grown under row covers.
The new plants are looking good and we will have to see what happens. Right now they are beginning to flower and they look quite good. I am hoping for a good outcome and I will know that I have to plant in stages and protect with covers.
Meanwhile, I am freezing as many squash as I can. To do this I wash, and cut my squash into small pieces and blanch in hot water. This means I cover with water and bring the squash almost to a boil or to the point that the centers turn a little bit green. Then I pour the squash into a large colander and then plunge them into cold water and drain again. After this, I layer the squash on a baking sheet and separate the layers with parchment paper. I then cover with plastic wrap and put the covered pan of squash in the freezer until it is frozen through, usually overnight. I then transfer the squash into a freezer bag. The squash will then be good for up to six months in the deep freezer.
The reason I blanch the squash is so that the growth enzymes in the squash will prevent the squash from maturing any further and the squash will taste more like fresh squash and will not be spongy when used later. At least that is what I have read and it is a method that is recommended for freezing. Some people prefer canning, but I have always preferred frozen vegetables. Frozen squash will never be as firm as fresh squash but because of this method, I should enjoy a slightly mushier version in dishes this fall and winter.