Squash Season

Yes, the weather is changing, nights are longer, and cooler temperatures surface with less sunshine… Now buy some local produce, and get cooking some warm healing foods to balance your body and soothe your soul…..

A Visual Guide to Winter Squash

Get to know 12 delicious varieties, from pumpkin and butternut to acorn and spaghetti—recipes included
by Esther Sung


T he cooler months are prime time for winter squash. Pumpkins may get all the glory at Halloween, but there are many other versatile, vividly colored, flavorful, and nutrient-packed varieties to brighten up fall and winter meals. Sweeter, denser, and more firm in texture than summer squash or zucchini, winter squash take well to a wide spectrum of seasonings and can be true crowd-pleasers in warming soups, casseroles, risotto, lasagna, and even desserts.

The term winter squash is a bit of a misnomer: Harvested in the fall, these hardy vegetables will keep well through the cold winter months for which they’re named. Chances are that sugar pumpkins, acorn squash, and butternut squash are the most readily available types at local supermarkets. Others, such as spaghetti, buttercup, and red kuri, are worth seeking out at farmers’ markets, health food stores, or specialty shops. Regardless of the type, to get the best quality, select winter squash that are blemish- and bruise-free, with an intact stem and heavy feeling for their size.

Naturally low in fat and calories, the winter squash family delivers significant nutritional benefits. For example, one cup of baked butternut squash is rich in vitamins A (from beta carotene), B6, C, and E, as well as magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Flavors are generally mild-to-sweet, so squash won’t overwhelm other ingredients and can easily be incorporated into your seasonal cooking. The orange and yellow flesh helps brighten dishes—a definite bonus, especially in the colder months, when variety and color can be hard to come by in seasonal produce. And don’t be daunted by winter squash’s size, heft, and tough exterior; in fact, you can sometimes find popular varieties like butternut in stores already peeled and cubed. Use our recipes to transform the flesh into something sweet or savory, and you’ll know that it’s well worth the effort!

Visual Guide to Winter Squash Main Image

1. Kabocha Squash 2. Butternut Squash 3. Red Kabocha Squash 4. Carnival Squash 5. Sugar Pumpkin 6. Sweet Dumpling Squash 7. Spaghetti Squash 8. Blue Hubbard Squash 9. Delicata Squash 10. Red Kuri Squash 11. Buttercup Squash 12. Acorn Squash

Kabocha Squash Image

Kabocha Squash

Characteristics: The squat, green kabocha—the Japanese word for squash—has a nutty, earthy flavor with just a touch of sweetness. It’s similar in shape and size to a buttercup squash, but the base points out and not in.
Recipes to try:
· Kabocha Squash Risotto with Sage and Pine Nuts
· Kabocha Squash Cake with Brown Sugar Cream

Butternut Squash Image

Butternut Squash

Characteristics: A slim neck and bulbous bottom give the butternut squash its distinctive bell shape. The muted yellow-tan rind hides bright orange-yellow flesh with a relatively sweet taste. To make butternut squash easier to handle, cut the neck from the body and work with each section separately.
Recipes to try:
· Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Butternut Squash
· Butternut Squash and Hazelnut Lasagne

Red Kabocha Squash Image

Red Kabocha Squash

Characteristics: The red kabocha is squat, like its green counterpart, and has faint white stripes running from top to bottom. While the green kabocha is relatively savory, the red kabocha is unmistakably sweeter.
Recipes to try:
· Shrimp Curry with Yu Choy and Kabocha Squash
· Heaven-and-Earth Tempura Cakes

Carnival Squash Image

Carnival Squash

Characteristics: Breed an acorn squash with a sweet dumpling squash, and you get a carnival squash. While the carnival squash’s exterior resembles both of its relatives’, its yellow flesh is mellow and sweet. Use it wherever acorn squash or butternut squash is called for in a recipe.
Recipes to try:
· Rice Soup with Pumpkin
· Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette

Sweet Sugar Pumpkin Image

Sugar Pumpkin

Alternate name: Pie pumpkin
Characteristics: If your Halloween pumpkin was small and squat, chances are it was a sugar pumpkin. But more than just decorative, sugar pumpkins are prized for their classic pumpkin flavor, as well as for their thick and flesh-packed walls. If you’d like to opt out of canned pumpkin for your baking and make your own purée instead, reach for a sugar pumpkin.
Recipes to try:
· Sugar Pumpkin, Feta, and Cilantro Quesadillas
· Classic Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Dumpling Squash Image

Sweet Dumpling Squash

Characteristics: This whitish-yellow and green squash is small and compact, making the whole squash the perfect-size bowl for an individual serving. The flesh tastes very much like sweet potato, and the skin is edible is as well. Use sweet dumpling squash in recipes calling for sweet potato or pumpkin.
Recipes to try:
· Pumpkin Turnovers
· Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar-Pecan Topping

Spaghett Squash Image

Spaghetti Squash

Characteristics: Take a fork to the inside of a cooked spaghetti squash, and you’ll understand how this variety got its name. By scraping the flesh, you’ll get “strings” that closely resemble noodles. If you’re in search of a healthy pasta alternative, try this very mild-tasting squash.
Recipes to try:
· Maple-Glazed Tofu with Spaghetti Squash
· Spaghetti Squash with Moroccan Spices

Blue Hubbard Squash Image

Blue Hubbard Squash

Characteristics: Most blue Hubbard squash are huge, bumpy, and lumpy, and often sold as pre-cut wedges. The particular variety pictured here, the Blue Ballet, is much smaller, making it easier to store and prepare at home. Underneath the gray-blue skin is sweet-tasting orange flesh.
Recipes to try:
· Autumn Squash Salad
· Pumpkin Clafouti

Delicata Squash Image

Delicata Squash

Alternate name: Sweet potato squash
Characteristics: This particular winter squash, with its pale yellow shading, most closely resembles its summer squash cousins. The thin skin is edible, but also more susceptible to bruises and rot. When cooked, the delicata has a consistency similar to that of a sweet potato—creamy and soft—although the flavoring is a bit more earthy. For a decorative effect, take advantage of this squash’s ridges by slicing width-wise to create scalloped circles or halves; small- to medium-size delicata work best.
Recipes to try:
· Roasted Squash with Lemon-Tahini Sauce
· Delicata Squash with Rosemary, Sage, and Cider Glaze

Red Kuri Image

Red Kuri Squash

Alternate names: Orange Hokkaido, red Hubbard, potimarron
Characteristics: Like all Hubbards, the red kuri has an asymmetrical, lopsided look to it. And like the Blue Ballet variety, the red kuri is smaller and easier to handle. Its yellow flesh is smooth and has a chestnutlike flavor.
Recipes to try:
· Leek and Cod Soup
· Orzo and Cheese Baked in Acorn Squash

Buttercup Squash Image

Buttercup Squash

Characteristics: Compact and green with paler green striations, the buttercup can closely resemble a kabocha squash. Its distinctive bottom with a circular ridge, though, gives it away. On some, the ridge may surround a more pronounced bump, or “turban.” A freshly cut buttercup may smell like a clean, fragrant cucumber, but once cooked, its orange flesh becomes dense, a bit dry, and very mild.
Recipes to try:
· Vegetable and Chicken Curry
· Kabocha Purée with Ginger

Acorn Squash Image

Acorn Squash

Characteristics: This mildly flavored squash is named for its acornlike shape. Choose one with a dull green rind; an acorn squash that’s turned orange will have tough and fibrous flesh.
Recipes to try:
· Garam Masala Scallops over Acorn Squash
· Farro with Acorn Squash and Kale

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/visual-guide-winter-squash#ixzz2kPBL1dNU


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