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WSU Extension Q&A: Freeze pumpkin, winter squash

Cook squash in boiling water, in steam, in a pressure cooker or in an oven until soft.
Cook squash in boiling water, in steam, in a pressure cooker or in an oven until soft. KRT

Q. Can I freeze pumpkin and other winter squash?

A. Yes, cook squash in boiling water, in steam, in a pressure cooker or in an oven until soft . Remove pulp from rind, and mash. To cool, place pan containing winter squash in ice water and stir occasionally. When cooled, package in a freeze safe container, leaving half-inch head space. Seal and freeze. For spaghetti squash, mashing the cooked pulp is not necessary.

Q. The beets in my vegetable garden all grew together. What happened?

A. Beets will continue to grow and enlarge as they mature. Plant your beets with a wider spacing in the row, or thin your beets early to allow room for growth.

Q. What is the best ration to feed 4-H and FFA market steers?

A. That depends on the stage the steers are in and the range of feeds available. Steers that have recently been weaned will need a high fiber growing ration of mainly hay or another roughage. Alternatively, steers on a finishing ration will need higher energy and a diet that is higher in grain. It is difficult to make generalizations about the types of commodities to include in these rations, but several rules should be observed.

The steers will usually be maintained on a growing ration until they reach about 800 pounds. Then, from steer weigh-in time for the fair, there is usually about 120 to 150 days until the start of the fair (this is when the finishing ration is employed). During this period, the cattle will need to gain about 2.75 to 3.5 pounds per day. To avoid metabolic imbalances and bloat, it is important to always start cattle on new rations gradually. This is especially true when steers are moved from growing to finishing rations.

A range of grains and byproduct feeds are available, and the rations must have sufficient protein (around 12 percent to 13 percent protein). The grain and byproduct components will be rich in phosphorus and also contain a lot of starch. It is possible that a mineral package will need to be included to keep the calcium to phosphorus ratio in the diet at about 2:1 so the animals won’t be at risk for urinary calculi (urinary stones). Also, keep in mind that the roughage component of the finishing diet should be maintained at around at least 10 percent of the diet. The roughage, in the form of grass or grass-legume hay helps to keep the rumen healthy and lessens the chance of acidosis on high grain diets.

Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.