1.06.2011

The Local Food Report: the Squash Glossary

This is a butternut squash:


I'm guessing you already knew that, but we're starting with the basics. The thing is, winter squash is everywhere this time of year. If I could peek out, beyond this screen, I bet I would see one on your kitchen counter right now. For every kind of vegetable we get in the summer, it seems winter brings us a new kind of squash.

So this fall, I started paying attention—to what varieties Cape Cod farmers are growing, and what they're good for in the kitchen. Here we go:

1. Butternut: Easily the most popular variety amongst both farmers and cooks. Creamy colored skin and a shape like an elongated pear. Firm, sweet, flesh, and a good keeper. Versatile enough to work in almost any recipe. (Click to see.)

2. Delicata: Oblong, covered in a thin, pale yellow skin marked with dark green stripes. Mild, good baked with butter and maple syrup. (Click to see.)

3. Acorn: Shaped like...you guessed it! an acorn, with dark green skin and a flesh that's sweet, almost peppery. Excellent in soups. (Click to see.)

4. Buttercup: Similar shape to the acorn, except without the point at the bottom. Thick, rough, dark green skin with grayish ridges and spotting. A very dense, sweet flesh; can be substituted for sweet potatoes. (Click to see.)

5. Cinderella Pumpkin, or Rouge Vif D'Etampes: Large—20 or 30 pounds—with ridges and a thick, bright reddish-orange skin. Excellent for pies. (Click to see.)

6. Jarrahdale: Large—30 pounds plus—with ridges and a thick, grayish-blue skin. An excellent pie and baking squash. Australian in origin. (Click to see.)

7. Connecticut Field Pumpkin: Mid-sized and deep orange with a thick, ribbed skin. Excellent for both pies and jack-o-lanterns. (Click to see.)

8. New England Pie Pumpkin: The best pie pumpkin. Small, deep orange, ribbed skin with a sweet, thick flesh. Yum! (Click to see.)

9. Blue and Red Hubbard: Big and meaty, with a thick skin that's either blue-gray or reddish depending on the variety. Good for soups, baking, sweetbreads—you name it. A long keeper and a good all-purpose squash. (Click to see.)

10. Magdalena: Light orange with a flattened shape and deep ribs. One of the oldest cultivated squash varieties, according to the seed catalogs. Bright orange flesh that's dense and sweet; good for soups. (Click to see.)

11. Knucklehead: A good all-purpose eating squash, but carve it for a jack-o-lantern first! Bright orange, thick skin with knobby warts all over. (Click to see.)

And finally, here are a few links to my favorite squash recipes. Enjoy!

Baked Hubbard Squash
Butternut-Chocolate Chip Brownies
Butternut Squash and Leek Soup
Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash
New Mom Muffins
Pumpkin Penne ala KD
Pumpkin Pie (the Best)
Roasted Kabocha and Shallot Soup
Sophie Minkoff's Pumpkin Bread
Thai-Spiced Squash Soup

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

Great report, Elspeth. I thought I was pretty familiar w/ winter squash, but you introduced me to some new ones. That Cinderella squash is wild!

A variety I like a lot is Long Pie Pumpkin, an old New England standby. It's long, like a piece of firewood or a stubby baseball bat, and the seeds scoop out super easily, which I consider a big plus.

Best wishes from A Maine Reader

Emmett said...

Lovely list. I would add Kabocha (tasty savory Japanese squash) as another good one, and Marina di Chioggia is an incredible old italian variety (it's awesomely warty, and looks like a turban squash, but the flesh is delish and traditionally used for ravioli, gnocchi, and risotto.)
Thanks for the nice blog! I've just stumbled across it an am enjoying poking around--and will stay tuned.

Elspeth said...

Emmett I LOVE kabocha. A friend grew it a few years ago and it makes a mean soup. And to my Maine Reader, I like Long Pie Pumpkin but I've never tried growing it. Is it easy to do?

Best,
Elspeth

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