Gourds; they are everywhere. If you have been to the supermarket lately, you have probably been gloriously overwhelmed by the variety of winter squash lining the aisles. Not only are they rich in nutrients like vitamin A and fiber, but the sizes, shapes and colors of these lovely vegetables seem to have no end! In addition, they are relatively cheap and easy to store - some having a shelf life for months when kept cool and dry. Have you ever seen a squash that looked lovely to eat, but you weren’t so sure about the taste (or vice versa)? Good news folks, we are here to help you navigate your culinary adventures! Our second-to-last booth at the Everett Farmer’s Market featured many-a-squash, and how to identify them. Here are some of our helpful tips and recipes!
Kabocha, also known as a “Japanese Pumpkin”, is delicious by itself or as an addition to winter soups and stews. The color can range from a light, pale green- to an almost blue, but most of the time you find Kabochas that have a dark green/speckled exterior with a yellow/orange center. Its flavor is described as a combination of sweet and nutty, with a fluffy texture. Rest assured, pumpkins everywhere are green with envy. Below are two different ways to prepare the Kabocha.
Butternut squash is quintessential to Fall, with its unmistakable oblong shape and vibrant orange color. Like a sweet potato, the flesh is creamy and sweet, not to mention easy to prepare. Some stores sell raw butternut squash cubes in the produce and freezer sections. On the rare occasion, I have even spotted crinkle-cut butternut squash fries and - my goodness - were they delicious! Here is an easy recipe for a savory-sweet butternut squash and black bean chili:
Unless you have been living in a cave for the past 5 years, you have probably heard about spaghetti squash. This pale yellow, oval-shaped gourd is famous for its magical ability to turn itself from average squash- into pasta-hence its name. The fibers in spaghetti squash provide it with a noodle-like texture when baked. While most recipes involve a pasta sauce, we amped up our recipe by adding a homemade creamy pumpkin sauce! Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly get more pumpkin into your life this season.
Adapted from: http://leangreennutritionfiend.com/2015/10/09/spaghetti-squash-with-creamy-pumpkin-sauce/
It may look like more of a decoration than a vegetable, but do not let the delicate deceive you; it is pure, edible deliciousness. Slightly resembling a ballooned-up zucchini, the squash is oblong, striped and comes in a variety of pale greens and yellows. Its flavor is described as sweet, rich and moist. This delicata recipe is sweet, zesty and perfect for a fall potluck!
Oh, acorn squash. Perhaps the most adorable squash there is, how could you not want to take it home with you? Acorn squash can usually be spotted by their nut-like shape, and can range in hues and stripes from dark green, to yellow, orange and even sometimes white! They are soft in texture and have a buttery-neutral taste with a hint of sweetness, making them great for both sweet and savory recipes. Acorn squashes are generally smaller in size, which suites perfectly for a substitution in your go-to stuffed bell pepper recipe! Here is a satisfying recipe for stuffed acorn squash from epicurious.com.
Heat oven to 375°. Cut a thin slice off round side of each squash half to create a stable base. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; coat with cooking spray. Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; bake until golden and tender, 30 minutes. Remove from oven; flip squash and set aside. Heat broiler. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add sausage; cook, breaking into coarse pieces, until brown, 6 minutes; transfer to a bowl. To same skillet, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and leek; cook until leek is soft, 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, 30 seconds. Add kale and toss; add broth. Cover and cook until kale is tender, 5 minutes; stir in sausage. Divide kale-sausage filling among squash. In a bowl, combine walnuts, Parmesan and panko; sprinkle evenly over squash bowls and coat with cooking spray. Broil until panko is golden, 2 minutes.
Recipe from LARAINE PERRI SELF NOVEMBER 2013
Other winter squash varieties include hubbard squash, red kuri, buttercup, sweet dumpling, carnival, and-last but not least- the beloved pumpkin. Generally speaking, the majority of squashes are interchangeable in recipes, due to the consistency, taste and fiber content being very similar in many gourds (minus our special friend, the spaghetti squash). In other words, this blog post could last for days, but I’ll spare those reading. That way you’ll have more time to cook!
Wishing the happiest of Fall squash harvesting to you all,
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