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An Ode to Winter Squash (2020)


Gourds are more than pretty front porch decorations. Growing up, when we went to a pumpkin patch, all we picked were carving pumpkins, completely disregarding the smaller (and weirder) shaped fall items like gourds. What I did not know is that these “gourds”, or winter squashes, are actually the makings of delicious, sweet filling meals.


Oh, the glories of winter squash. Why do I love them so? First, they are so easy to prep. Second, they can easily be the star of a meal—season them and you can go from an Indian meal, to an Italian meal. And lastly, they are filling. Similar to summer squash, they have a meaty consistency, and when you finish you a meal you’re full and content.


Here’s the down-low on the varieties Farm Share members will be able to choose from this year.


Delicata: (pictured above)

  • About: If you’re new to (or have only dipped your toe in) winter squash, delicata by far is the easiest and most tasty variety on the planet. But that’s also coming from a person that likes simple and sweet. A delicata is the perfect single serving squash, with an edible skin.

  • Uses: Quite sweet, slice it into reins and roast. Scoop out the seeds beforehand. Bake or broiled, eaten with the skin on.

  • Recipe Idea: Since we’re also rolling out shallots this week, it’s a no-brainer. Shallots (which seem to have a cult-like following in the culinary world) have that sweet kick, and with this recipe which mixes in blue cheese, I’m in heaven. Entertaining and want to impress? We made this winter squash galette and gobbled it up way too fast. But the real winning recipe right now is simply roasting along those sungold tomatoes.

Butternut:

  • About: This squash ranges in size, and well, we decided to grow the largest variety (which also takes the longest to grow).

  • Uses: While it’s skin is not edible, it’s sweet, nutty-tasting flesh is the ultimate all-purpose squash.

  • Recipe: Winter squash is more than butter, milk and brown sugar, and butternut is a testament to this. You can make soups, salads, pastas, and even casseroles with this sweet, hearty fall vegetable. First check out how to cube this squash (link here), and then how to roast it (link here). I’ll keep this recipe short and say, after you roast it, put it in the fridge and use it as a salad topper!

Red Kuri:

  • About: A teardrop shaped red/orange squash from Japan, also known as Baby Red Hubbard or Orange Hokkaido. “Kuri” is Japanese for chestnut—the texture and taste are similar to cooked chestnuts! A sweet, savory, buttery flavor. This squash great substitute for acorn squash (sorry we didn’t grow that variety!), and other squash varieties that don't need to be peeled before cooking because it has edible skin!

  • Uses: Less sweet than earthy, it’s delicious for soup, or dicing in a sauté or stir-fry. If you're cooking a whole squash, be sure to pierce the skin in several places so steam can escape.

  • Recipe Idea: You know I love a good tahini recipe, try this roasted Red Kuri with tahini greens and almonds recipe.

Kabocha:

  • About: Another Japanese variety, the HDFH variety is a nice red/orange color (other varieties can be green too!). It has a big seed cavity, perfect for filling and baking. But my favorite thing about it is that it evokes the taste and texture of sweet potatoes.

  • Uses: It can be sliced and roasted, used for soups and in stews, or puréed.

  • Recipe Idea: They say bitter greens are a perfect pairing for sweet, caramelized kabocha squash (yay, HDFH mizuna greens coming soon!), but I couldn’t resist sharing this chunky squash dip recipe which puts those hot peppers to use… because yes, we make meals out of appetizers over here.

Sugar Pie Pumpkin:

  • About: Those cute small pumpkins, did you know you can actually eat them? Having Thanksgiving on the farm last year meant no canned pie pumpkin filling. This is the real deal. With its stringless, sugary flesh, it’s perfect for baked goods.

  • Uses: Pie pumpkins can be steamed, roasted and baked. After which, I typically peel off their skin. Then you can save in the fridge for salads or toss in the slow cooker for a soup. You can also use an immersion blender for muffins, tarts, bread, custards, pudding, cakes, and cookies. Or flavorful stews, curries, dips, oatmeal, tamales, or even quesadillas. SO MANY THINGS!! (Have I converted you away from your chicken dish yet?!)

  • Recipes: All the wonderful things Sugar Pie Pumpkins pair with…eggs, Gruyere, parmesan, mozzarella, French bread, shallots, garlic, ginger, onions, white wine, swiss chard, dijon mustard, thyme, oregano, rosemary, cumin, pasta, miso paste, and peanuts. Here is how to make pumpkin puree from scratch. And once you’ve done that you can make tons of goodies like these pumpkin muffins (try splitting squash cooking and baking into different days, makes it much more enjoyable!).

Spaghetti:

  • About: This squash gets its name from the way it’s flesh forms pasta like strings. Of all the squashes, this is my extended family’s favorite. You can substitute this healthy, low-cal veggie for your favorite pasta recipe.

  • Uses: Remove the seeds and bake or broil (in the oven, a little water in a baking dish below the squash pan helps this process too). Using a large fork, extract the flesh, keeping it stringy. The flavor is pasta-like (somewhat bland), so tossing with your favorite pasta sauce is perfect.

  • Recipe: Just roast it alongside sungold tomatoes, then season as you wish, and maybe toss in some more pasta sauce. Ta-dah. Or, if you want to be fancy, bust out the cast iron and add in some onions and greens for a delicious meal via this recipe.

Storage: Remember, all winter squash can last several months! All our winter squashes are grown in the field, not trellised, so you may see some ground contact spots. These spots don’t impact taste at all, especially when eaten within the month. If you plan to store them long-term, let us know and we’ll make sure you get a squash suited for storage.


Ordering: We have limited amount of each variety. When they’re gone they’re gone! Folks, this is our first year too, so you may be missing some of your favorite varieties or you probably have a bomb recipe too. We’d love any feedback! Oh, and Red Kuri and the Kabocha look wildly similar, but harvest was on the same day—we’ll doing our best to keep them straight for your orders!


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