Preserving melons and squash

organic_mamag(Z5 IN)August 10, 2008

I apologize for asking questions that may have already been talked about. I've been searching the archives but my eyes are starting to cross from reading so much and I haven't found what I'm looking for. Besides, I need to get outside and tend to my garden!

I am realizing that I have LOTS of things that are ripening and need to be dealt with fairly soon. I didn't realize how far along these things were or that so many were ready at once.

First, I have 9 muskmelons (at least half are ripe or will be there within days). What can I do with them? I will give some away and, of course, my family will eat some. But I am still going to have too many ripe at one time to eat. Can muskmelon be cubed and frozen (or saved in some other way)?

Also, same thing with Sugar Baby Watermelons. I had 4 watermelons from my two plants. I picked the oldest and largest one last night and sliced it for dinner. It was perfect! However, my family are slooow watermelon eaters. This one melon will last us several days. Meanwhile, according to what I've read here at gardenweb.com, I have at least two more ready to pick and maybe even the third one. Is there any way to save all that watermelon?

Finally, I had 4 spaghetti squash plants. They were attacked a couple of weeks ago by Squash Vine Borers. I assumed all 9 squash were goners. However, even though the vines have been dying off, the squash have turned yellow and their rinds have gotten hard. I'm thinking they may just make it (some of them anyway). I cut open two of the ripest looking spaghetti squash and they look fine. I was thinking of baking them, scraping out the flesh with a fork, and then freezing them in ziploc baggies. What do you all think? Would this work? I don't have anywhere to store the squash whole (root cellar), but I could freeze the flesh if it'll keep.

I've been so busy focusing on my cucumbers (pickles) and tomatoes, that the melons and squash kind of snuck up on me. This is my first garden, so a lot takes me by surprise.

Thanks for any help!

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Lucky you for watermelons. I started mine from seeds indoors back in April. It took until the end of June to start growng. I have 12 plants, half of which are seedless. Because I used to get animals (mostly possums) who would chew into the sides of melons, especially cantaloupe, I decided to make a contraption. This device uses a motion sensing flood light array which also turns on a low ultrasonic niose that most animals hate be near. Its worked very well so far, and I occaisonally move it to confuse them.

As to canatloupe and musk, you can freeze cubes of it, but they will not be as firm as fresh. Suggest that when you cube them, that you also dip in acorbic acid to help prevent darkening. Watermelon isn't going to hold up to freezing however. Ever pickle watermelon rinds? The watremelon will last unopened in the fridge a couple of weeks. To determine when they are ripe and ready to pick look at the stems on either side of the melon stem and see if these show up as a tan color. Musks will release easily from their stems. For squash storage (usually hard skin), a dip in a mild bleach and water solution will kill of surface mold, and reduce early spoilage. Even though these have hard skins, they still bruise easily. You can also freeze squash.

Now, what do I do with 4 bushels of apples, that are all ready to pick.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 2:42PM
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rachelellen

I have frozen cantaloupe with success, it is wonderful in smoothies and makes a great ice cream or sorbet. It doesn't thaw well however. I have also made cantaloupe jam, which was very good. If you are a jammer, I will type up the recipe for you if you like, but basically, a general, all around jam recipe would do.

I don't care for spaghetti squash myself, but have read that you should cook it before freezing it as opposed to freezing it raw, so your idea about cooking it and then storing it in ziplock bags with the air pushed out sounds right to me.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 2:31AM
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greenhouser(Middle TN Zone 6)

Ken: I would turn them into sweet (use Splenda) apples and cinnamon with a few raisins tossed in for good measure. Makes a nice snack between meals. Or make applesauce to have with your pork dinners. I wish I could grow apples here but there are too many cedar trees in the nearby woods causing apple-rust disease.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 12:22PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Made a lot of apple pie filling last year. This year, maybe apple butter. I do plan to have a few garage sales too, so some stuff might get sold then. More rain now that we dont need. Cuke leaves have powdery mildew and my Serenade spray was washed off the next day due to more rain. I usually wait for a few apples to fall off before picking them all. Tasted one the other day and it still had a little green near the blossom end. No sprays, just scent lures and red sticky spheres. Only a couple of apples have blemish. I'm hoping my next dor neighbor will follow through and cut down all the big trees between our property line. My poor blueberry bushes grow sideways and lean to the east all the time now, same with apples. I plan to try the seasoning Grains of Paradise on some of the apples. Dried apple slices are easy to make too and last a lot longer, plus take up litte space.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 12:40PM
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