Have you ever had a vegetable or fruit grow in your garden and it simply took over? The result, veggie like zucchini or squash so large that it could feed you as well as the French Foreign Legion. You’ve won that blue ribbon, you don’t want to tackle eating it, now what do you do? Well I realize this recipe is a bit out of season but I was figuring that something like this may have happened to you. The harvest is over, and the biggest items remain in your root cellar throughout the winter until it expires, and you have to throw it away, or do you vow to do something with it? Anything at all, just don’t let it go to waste.
Recently I had to take on a 45 pound squash beast, species unknown… It’s skin was reminiscent of the gourd we carve at Halloween. It had wavy scale’s, orange and lumpy, mostly pumpkinesque, but with much longer teeth, reaching north and south. Taking up tons of space, it had to be eaten. The squashes expiration in the root cellar was imminent, and about to destroy Tokyo, or my kitchen as fate would have it.
So, how do you approach Squashzilla? Barely fitting on my counter it was as long as my table, I think I contracted carpal tunnel due to it taking me several minutes to piece it apart. 5 pans later to bake it went, bowing the racks in my oven.
About 20 minutes into the baking my husband asked me, “What’s burning?” One of the pans a vintage Pyrex that had been owned by my mother, paid the price of doing battle with Squashzilla, it broke in two under its’ weight. Sorry mom. I should have lined the pan with foil…The sweet syrup of the squash dripped to the bottom of my oven, turning the smell in my house from pie to disappointment. Still I pressed on.
When the squash was nicely roasted, I peeled the skin and pureed it in the food processor.
I set half of the baked squash aside to give to a neighbor (there was seriously a ton) and I placed about 10 cups of puree in a large pot and added the ingredients, and cooked it, and cooked it and dang it! I cooked it!
Since the squash mixture was high in liquid it was bubbling over. Every-freaking-where, like a volcanic science fair experiment. So I covered the pot and put it on low stirring every 15 minutes for about 6 hours. During the last hour I removed the lid and cooked away the remaining liquid through the steam, and watched it carefully until it was very thick, and stood up on its own. I’m pretty sure everyone’s cooking time will vary depending upon the pot and the type of squash you use with the recipe. Just make sure the liquid is gone and you can see the bottom of the pan when you move the spoon across the surface.
The result me :10 Squashzilla :3
Yippee! I won because it came out FANTASTIC!
It’s a thick rich copper colored spread, that is just sweet enough, full of spice and rich flavors. It would make a perfect pie filling or glaze for pork. Right away my daughter wanted a sandwich with it and marshmallow fluff.
The USDA doesn’t want you to can any pureed squash product because they cant guarantee any heat penetration, so canning is at your own discretion. Just refrigerate in a tight jar and use within two to three weeks. When you give the butter as a gift instruct the recipients to do so as well.
I put nice labels on the jars and will gift them to my mother and neighbors. It made about 4 quarts of butter.
Enjoy the recipe… I will be busy for quite a while, cleaning the squash off my kitchen ceiling.
10 cups of roasted squash pureed (any kind)
1 cup of packed brown sugar
1-cup pure maple syrup
½ cup molasses
1½ tablespoons of cinnamon
½ tablespoon of salt
½ tablespoon of ground nutmeg
½ tablespoon of ground cloves
1 tablespoon of vanilla paste or extract
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Halve the squash and remove the seeds and stringy flesh.
Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
Place the squash cut-side-down in the pan and roast at 425F. for 40 minutes, until the flesh of the squash has softened completely.
Let cool. (You can even do this part in advance, and keep the roasted squash in the fridge until you are ready to use it).
Using a food processor blend the squash until smooth. Add the squash along with the remaining ingredients to a large heavy pot.
Over medium heat, bring the squash mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, depending upon the breed of squash and your pot. Be careful it will want to pop and bubble everywhere like Mt. Vesuvius.
Stir every 5 to 15 minutes, then in the final cooking stage the puree will have reduced to half in size and will be steaming.
Watch it closely it will be done when you can run your spoon across the bottom of the pot, and it parts like the red sea.
Enjoy! ~ Amy Wexler