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Jackie Clay

Q and A: canning nuts, fly in milk pail, and Hopi Pale Grey squash

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Canning nuts

Can you can sliced or slivered almonds? Also can you can raw peanuts? I have canned walnuts using your recipe and was wondering about these others.
Dianne Miller
Bonner, Montana

Yes, you can. Just follow the same directions. However, once you toast the peanuts, they’ll no longer be raw but they will be awfully good! — Jackie

Fly in milk pail

I have an odd question, this morning while milking my goats a fly flew into the milk pail, I hurried up and filtered it out, my question is if it is still safe to drink? It breaks my heart to throw out a whole 1/2 gallon of milk.

Crystal Misiak
Millboro, Virginia

This isn’t all that uncommon during the summer. I just dip out the fly quickly and filter as usual. We eat and drink a whole lot worse things every single day, especially if we buy store food! They just don’t tell you. — Jackie

Hopi Pale Grey squash

My Hopi pale gray squash vines are crazy but I only have around dozen squash. How will I know when they are ripe and ready to pick? One is larger then a basketball. Do you peel, cube and then can?

Robin Putman
Coolville , Ohio

Hopi Pale Grey squash, like other squash, set squash when the temperature is right for them. If it is too hot, no squash babies! But they are large squash so it doesn’t matter. Before your first hard frost/freeze, pick all your squash. Lay them in a warm, dry spot to further harden the skins. Then store in a dry spot in a warm location. Squash like to be stored at about 65-75 degrees (normal household temps), NOT in the cool root cellar or basement. Hopi Pale Greys will store for up to two years. That’s right, TWO years! But watch them carefully. If they show signs of getting soft can ’em up or use them right away before they rot.

I cut these squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Be sure to save them to use next year or share with others. (You did grow only these C. maxima squash or pumpkins, didn’t you?) Then I lay the cleaned squash meat down on a cutting board and cut 1-inch slices with a heavy knife. I peel each slice and then cut them into 1-inch cubes to can. They are so good just drained and used in a casserole dish with butter and brown sugar topping. Or mash the cubes and make a “pumpkin” pie. It’s our favorite. — Jackie

9 Responses to “Q and A: canning nuts, fly in milk pail, and Hopi Pale Grey squash”

  1. Rick Says:

    Jackie, I planted Hopi pale grey squash this spring….wow are they ever vigorous!!! the vines are every where across my back yard, no matter, we just mow around them. They are generously setting fruit and are the size of footballs, and still pale green mottled or striped with cream. I’ve noticed the bumble bees seem to frequent them more than my honey bees do, and both kinds of bee are crazy on my cukes, watermelons and cantalope blossoms. I can hardly wait to see the final result of the Hopi”s. And even more I look forward to a nice pie or squash casserole. I plan to save a lot of seed.
    I also tried Cherokee purple tomatoes and they are so nice. I saw 3 starting to ripen today and can’t wait to taste them. Also the climbing triple crop tomatoes are huge,( both the vines and tomatoes.) I made my cages as you suggested from a roll of stock fencing with 4×6 inch holes and I secured the cages to rebar pounded into the ground.
    I have read every word of every one of your blogs plus the readers comments or questions and your replies and all your back articles specifically from BHM. I refer to you all the time saying “Jackie said to try this or Jackie cans it this way”… my family feels as if they know you. I never miss a day checking your blog…. Wish I could attend the seminar….not sure I really need it as I have been homesteading since childhood having learned from my grandparents and parents during the 60s and my daughter and her girls are homesteading too, while my wayward son wants to live the city boy life with his wife and child in Oregon…I’ll suggest they visit the BHM staff. so far it is their loss. I tell them when it gets really tough make your way back home or maybe to Gold Beach since that is far nearer than we are in Pennsylvania.
    Blessings on you and Will and your loved ones!!!

  2. Robin putman Says:

    Jackie, our neighbor grows winter pink squash ( I think that is the name). Is this a squash that should not be grown with Hopi grey?

  3. M Blaney Says:

    Hi Jackie -quick question regarding the Hopi squash – the seeds I planted that you passed on all germinated -which is wonderful – the plants have grown out almost 6 feet and are sprawling into other planted areas -can I cut back the vines a bit -the vines have flowered but yet no fruit. Thanks

    M Blaney -Ontario

  4. John Says:


    Our Hopi grey plants were absolutely beautiful then they started dying. They had tons of blosoms but zero squash. Normally I would think we had too much nitrogen, however, we added nothing to the garden this year but a very light layer of composted chicken manure (we use no chemicals)….but that would not account for the dying of the plants. We have two plants left still flowering all over the place but no squash. Our watermelon (small variety for colder regions) also grew well this year in a rasied garden bed but only have maybe 3 watermelon when we should have about 20 melons. Our tomato plants are going strong but again, very few tomatoes. Cukes plants are nice looking but very few cukes. Maybe I have a black thumb….even the rhubarb plants all died that were in a different garden! Now, thats BAD! Our weather in northern Michigan has been odd to say the least but we are use to odd weather here. Our harvests are running about 2 weeks behind but that is about it. Puzzled as to what is going on…….I do know we have a really bad bee shortage. We’ve garden here for nearly 30 years and this more recent trend seems to get worse each year…fewer and fewer fruits and veggies on our plants.

  5. Betty Says:

    I raised broilers for almost 30 years. Too much chicken litter equals too much nitrogen. (I found out the hard way). So maybe that is the problem. I probably wouldn’t put any on next year and see what happens.

  6. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    I’m tickled that your Hopi Pale Greys are doing so well. They usually do and are oh so well worth the effort! Sounds like you’re a lifetime homesteader but we’d sure love to have you come to one of our homesteading seminars. You’d be surprised at all the tips and hints you can pick up, not only from us but from others. It’s really fun.

  7. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    I think these are pink banana squash and are a C. maxima and will cross with Hopi Pale Greys.

  8. jackie clay-atkinson Says:

    M Blaney,

    I wouldn’t cut the vines back too much; a little is fine if you must. You can pick up the vines and re-direct them, which is what I do. I wouldn’t be so sure you don’t have fruit; often these squash set and you don’t find them until a frost. But it has been hot off and on all summer here and squash don’t like hot weather and often won’t set fruit then. Here’s hoping you have lots under the big leaves!

  9. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    This has been a bad growing year. Squash melons and cukes don’t set fruit when it’s hot so that’s probably what happened. They don’t mind nitrogen at all. We plant them in heavily manured areas and they are simply rampant and abundant. But we don’t have as many squash this year, either. (But often there are hidden squash among the vines that we don’t see until frost kills them!)
    Our tomatoes are a month behind as was spring this year.
    There are plenty of other pollinators in the garden besides bees, so I doubt that’s your problem; I still would bet it’s the weather. Years like this is why I can up everything I can on good years because the next one (or two!) may be poor harvests. Make sure your raised beds are getting enough water as they tend to dry out quicker than row crop gardens. I hope things get better next year. I don’t think you have a black thumb!

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