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Winter Squashes: What are their flavor profiles and uses?  RSS feed

 
garden master
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Both my husband and I grew up never eating (or knowing about) any winter squash that wasn't pumpkin...and pumpkin was only consumed in seed or pie form! But, my husband just got diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and he's started on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (also known as SCD or GAPS) so suddenly our diet has come to include a lot more squash... and I honestly know very little about winter squashes!

BUT, I know many of you know a lot about winter squashes! I've seen some really cool posts about how awesome they are. So, what's your favorite types of squash? What do you use them for? Are there more energy-efficient ways of cooking them other than baking a ton in the oven at once?

Here's a place to talk about your favorite winter squashes and recipes for them! (And for me to soak up all your knowledge )
 
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In the anglo-sphere, there are three commonly grown types of squash that are called winter squash.

Pepos: Things like Delicata, Acorn, Spaghetti. I think of them more as "Fall squash" because they only keep well for a few months. I think they taste bland, and the flavor deteriorates quickly. I don't grow them. This is the same species as zucchini, crookneck, straight-neck, scallops, which are typically eaten as summer squash, and as jack-o-lanterns. The earliest maturing winter squashes are from this species. Fruit size is often small. 

Pepo Squash:


Butternuts: Also called moschatas. These typically ripen to a tan color. Taste is mild. The color of the flesh can be light yellow to dark orange. I prefer the taste of deep orange. Commercial pumpkin pie is typically made from this species. They store well for a long time. They have a reputation for being the most resistant to bugs and diseases. Shape varies between pumpkins and long-necked squash, with traditional butternuts somewhere in between. Fruit size is typically around 3 to 10 pounds, maxing out at around 30 pounds. Some varieties include: butternut, cheese pumpkin, Dickinson's pumpkin, long-necked squash, Pennsylvania Dutch crookneck, trombocino, black futzu, buckskin.

Moschata Squash:


Maximas: To me, maxima squash are the best tasting, sweetest, and most aromatic winter squash. They are my favorite eating. They store better than the pepos, but not as well as the butternuts. Maxima squash are things like Turban, Hubbard, Banana, Lakota, Sweet Meat, Kuri, and Buttercup. There are dry squash in this species, and moist squash. I much prefer the flavor and aroma of the dry squash. Maximas tend to be heavier squash, 20 to 40 pounds is typical, though there are varieties that have been selected for about 3 pound fruits. Some varieties can have woody skins, so they are hard to cut open. Try dropping them on cement.

Maxima Squash:


My preferred method of cooking winter squash, is to cut them in 5/8"  thick slices and sautee them in bacon fat or coconut oil. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. The same idea can be done in an oven...


While exploring squash, you might also want to grow lagenaria and mixta squash, which are more popular in non-anglo cultures.

Mixta/Cushaw squash:


Lagenaria Squash:



 
Nicole Alderman
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Oooo! Thank you for all the great info!

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
My preferred method of cooking winter squash, is to cut them in 5/8"  thick slices and sautee them in bacon fat or coconut oil. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. The same idea can be done in an oven...



How do you slice the squash in such nice slabs? Do you steam them first to soften them to cut, or have some contraption to hold them while you slice? Do you remove the skin, and if so, how?

Thanks!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Butternut/moschata squash have soft skins. They can be easily peeled with a vegetable peeler or knife. Some of the maxima squash (Hubbard) have woody shells, but the moschatas are soft-shelled.

Peeling butternut squash.


I lay the raw squash on a cutting board, and slice it with a knife... I typically slice first, and then peel with a paring knife... I really love cooking with long-necked butternuts. There aren't any seeds to deal with in the neck. If I don't use the whole thing in one meal, I can distribute the juice over the cut with my finger, and the squash will self-heal, ready to be used in the next couple weeks. As long as I don't cut into the seed cavity, it doesn't rot.

Slicing long-necked butternut.


 
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Hi Nicole,
One of my favorite squash recipes names banana squash, but I have made it more often with butternut, just because a banana squash is such a commitment if you don't have chickens or didn't grow it yourself PLANNING to share with the chooks.

Anyway here is the recipe:  adapted from Jane Brody's cook book

cube the peeled squash a little bigger than dice, a good single bite size.

warm some oil, butter, lard, your cooking fat of choice, and add some fresh garlic, chopped fine or through a press.  you are not sauteing the garlic, you are flavoring the oil. 

toss the cubes of squash in the garlic butter, then toss the oiled cubes in seasoned flour,

spread in one layer on oiled/buttered cookie sheet sprinkle some chopped parsley on,
top with grated cheese (parmasean or romano, or what ever you like.  I just use my own cheese now a days)

Bake at 350 F for 20-30 minutes.

Optional top with pumpkin or sunflower seeds (I don't )

When is it done?:

when the squash is tender, but depending on how much fat is in the pan, the squash will brown on the side that is down.  I really like that so I put a little more fat on the pan, and I stir/turn them after I see that they have begun to brown.

Essentially, cook them til the squash is done how you like it, al dente or tender, and don't cook it so long it burns.

Here is another great squash recipe

You are making "ginger squash soup"

You need a dark orange winter squash (I share Joseph's preferences in squash)

saute onions in butter, add ginger, plenty of garlic  a little coriander.

Add water or broth then add squash cut in chunks.   Add a touch of hot pepper.  Add some salt and some black pepper.

Just some liquid, not to cover.  I think more of steaming than simmering the squash, you want to leave lots of room for the milk/cream/ coconut milk that gets added later

When the squash is tender blenderize the mixture.  

Add milk or cream to about double the volume, depending on how much other liquid there already is.  Don't dilute the flavor too much. 

Warm it up, taste and adjust the seasonings

serve,

It is beautiful garnished with some chopped parsley or cilantro on top, and a dab of bright red jalapeno jelly in the center
 
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We try to eat a lot of bone broth, as you might be doing with GAPS and I don't really care for it plain so a few years ago we started eating squash soup for lunch everyday. All summer we use summer squash and in the winter we use what I grow in the garden this summer butternut, two enormous Boston Marrow, which I haven't cut yet. Last year I grew Oregon Sweetmeats which were great but they didn't make it this year. I've grown Jaune Gros De Paris Pumpkins for the past two years. Really big and make great soup as well as pies. That's what we're eating now as the pumpkins don't have as long a shelf life as some of the other squashes.  My basic soup recipe is here: http://momsforsafefood.net/2015/07/23/curried-zucchini-soup/

Thanks for sharing the pan fried butternut squash - that looks amazing!  I oven roast them a lot, but that looks even better.
 
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You may be looking for alternative flour. I raise hull less  seed pumpkins and dehydrate the flesh to make pumpkin flour. Sliced 14 inch thick or french fry shape they dry to 1/16th inch and can be whized into flour as needed in a coffee mill or blender. The slices can also be seasoned with pumpkin pie spice and eaten as chips.
Each time I open one [they average 15 pounds] I dehydrate what I don't use immediately and by spring I have that stash to eat until the next harvest.
 
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Cooking squash could be kind of a challenge. I really prefer using it for deserts, rather than soups. Here a recipe I've found recently:
http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/butternut-squash-couscous-chutney
I tried it and I can confirm it is easy to make and very very delicious.
 
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Hans Quistorff wrote:You may be looking for alternative flour. I raise hull less  seed pumpkins and dehydrate the flesh to make pumpkin flour. Sliced 14 inch thick or french fry shape they dry to 1/16th inch and can be whized into flour as needed in a coffee mill or blender. The slices can also be seasoned with pumpkin pie spice and eaten as chips.
Each time I open one [they average 15 pounds] I dehydrate what I don't use immediately and by spring I have that stash to eat until the next harvest.


Do you dehydrate the raw squash? Last year I dehydrated  lots of winter squash but my recipe from the Excalibur dehydrator book recommended par-boiling it. It was very time consuming as well as energy intensive. I'd prefer dehydrating it raw if it works. I don't think that my squash is quite dry enough to turn into powder/flour either.
 
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Roast winter squash is good stuff and extremely easy to cook.  Usually we halve or quarter a squash (depending on its size and shape), scoop out the seeds, put some butter, salt, and pepper in the seed cavity, and roast them for an hour or so at around 400.  There doesn't seem to be a way of getting around the fact that they need a long time in a hot oven.

Sometimes (usually with butternut) we cube the squash and roast it on an oiled baking sheet, again at around 400 but for less time, and treat it the way we treat roasted cubed sweet potato in recipes like this.

Delicata really is more of an autumn squash, as Joseph said.  It can be good sliced into rings and fried with a bit of sugar and spices, Thai-style.  The skin is edible, though not tasty.
 
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So many of the suggestions for how to eat squash rightly involve plenty of butter, which goes so well with cooked squash.  But butter in those quantities isn't compatible with my current eating style, so I have been looking for ways to make squash tasty without added fats or animal products. 

I think I may have found one.  Today I made a double batch of my vegetable pasta sauce (heavy on onions, made with canned tomato products, no meat flavorings or added oils) and when the onions were done sweating I added one butternut squash (peeled, cubed, and simmered until soft, then lightly mashed with my spatula) to the pasta sauce pot.  It's still finishing on the stove, but the squash has lightened the color of the sauce and given in a nice creaminess that my sauce usually doesn't have.  I'm really happy with the experiment!
 
Hans Quistorff
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darien payne wrote:
Hans Quistorff wrote:You may be looking for alternative flour. I raise hull less  seed pumpkins and dehydrate the flesh to make pumpkin flour. Sliced 14 inch thick or french fry shape they dry to 1/16th inch and can be whized into flour as needed in a coffee mill or blender. The slices can also be seasoned with pumpkin pie spice and eaten as chips.
Each time I open one [they average 15 pounds] I dehydrate what I don't use immediately and by spring I have that stash to eat until the next harvest.


Do you dehydrate the raw squash? Last year I dehydrated  lots of winter squash but my recipe from the Excalibur dehydrator book recommended par-boiling it. It was very time consuming as well as energy intensive. I'd prefer dehydrating it raw if it works. I don't think that my squash is quite dry enough to turn into powder/flour either.

Yes I dehydrate it raw. The dehydrator came with a recipe for zucchini sliced raw so I figured it would work for the pumpkin. I separate the seeds from the ovary strands and dry them also because they have the strongest flavor. I use a cleaver to chop the pumpkin ito chunks that will fit on my mandolin and use the thick slice or french fry blade to slice it until I get down to the skin so I do not even have to peal it.
pumpkin-drying.jpg
[Thumbnail for pumpkin-drying.jpg]
Son't do it with the rind on. it was too tough to get off.
Hulless-pumpkin-seeds.jpg
[Thumbnail for Hulless-pumpkin-seeds.jpg]
I exchanged seeds last year in the seed excahnge thread.
 
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I'm still a squash noob myself, having only discovered that they're not gross a few years ago.  I'm still not super into them as a stand-alone meal, but I love them as an ingredient.  I generally just use puree, since it's easiest to do in a big batch and then freeze in recipe-sized containers.  I've also canned butternut in chunks (all the others I've grown are just too hard to peel and cube raw), which is alright, but not something I'll do again unless I have a glut of squash and a lack of basement/ freezer space. 

For savory applications, my go-to is butternut (it's always been a consistent performer in my garden and a great keeper).  For sweeter stuff, I use Sugar Pie or Rouge Vif d'Etemps (my new favorite this year) pumpkins.  I'll use the pumpkin interchangeably in savory recipes, but I don't like the butternut as much in baked goods/ sweet things.

I tend to use my puree as a component to a sauce or a thickener.  I eat a lot of one-pot meals with a texture most people aren't crazy about; an ex used to call it "Soft Food."  It's more or less a pottage of vegetables, beans, and rice (or barley/ farro/ quinioa/ etc) with a very thick sauce/ binder.  It's the kind of food you can just shove in your face without thinking about.  It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's good for people with sensory/ texture issues and/ or bad teeth.  Don't let that scare you away, though, since the flavors combinations I give below can be adapted to something with a less uniform texture (eg, cube and saute the squash, serve rice on the side).   

Like Dan, I don't do a lot of added fats.  They would probably add more flavor, though.

Some of my favorite Soft Food combinations:
-Rice, squash, garam masala, red lentils or chick peas, onions, garlic, and golden raisins or dried apricots
-Rice, squash, raisins, pumpkin pie spice (I do my own blend based on the Epicurious recipe), brown sugar; comes out almost like a non-dairy baked rice pudding
-Rice, squash, tomatoes/ tomato juice/ tomato paste, black beans, onions, corn, chili powder (my own blend, based on generic internet recipes with the addition of a touch of cinnamon and cocoa), and cumin.  Take away the rice and add cheese for a good burrito filling/ tortilla chip dip

Soups:
-I've added a few tablespoons of puree to tomato-based vegetable soup and it gives a nice, round flavor with a little bit of umami, but I've also had it backfire and taste weird when there were too many other strong flavors in the soup (namely, broccoli and cabbage or basil/ oregano/ fennel)
-Cubed butternut, onion, chicken broth, white beans, kale/ chard/ spinach, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf, chicken meat optional
-Cubed butternut (or sweet potato), all the stuff from the tomato/ black bean Soft Food (minus rice), served with melted cheese or sour cream

Misc:
-Veggie burgers/ croquettes.  I make these a few times a year and are probably how I use squash the most.   They're kind of labor-intensive so I make a huge batch (24- 30 burgers) at a time and freeze them individually.  I mostly use the flavor profiles of the garam masala and tex-mex Soft Foods above when I make them with squash.  I don't follow a recipe, but I could write one out (scaled down to like 6-8 burgers) if anyone's interested.
-Gnocchi.  I was not a fan of them when I made them, but it was purely a texture issue.     
-Mashed squash, greek yogurt, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, mace, pecans, baked like a casserole.  It's like a crustless pumpkin pie with a kind of cheesecake flavor.   
-Something I'd like to try, but haven't gotten around to yet: a layer of butternut puree and a blend of ricotta and parmesan cheeses (with mace or nutmeg and black pepper) rolled up in a lasagna noodle and baked, either with or without tomato sauce. 

Basically, I treat squash like sweet potato.  Only wetter and fruitier.

For me, the spices that go best with squash are paprika, cumin, nutmeg/ mace, and cinnamon (individually, not all in one dish); the vegetables/ fruits that go best are onions, tomatoes, raisins, dried apricots, apples, and dates.  Anything licorice-y like fennel or anise are weird (tarragon might be okay when in an herbs de provence type blend, but probably not on its own).  Rosemary and sage can be a good compliment in trace amounts, but can overwhelm the subtle, earthy flavor of the squash pretty easily.  Citrussy is also gross, except *maybe* orange juice, in moderation, in a casserole or something.  It goes well with cheese, but that can go from hearty to heavy pretty easily.  I don't like it with brassicas, except for kale and maybe brussels sprouts (haven't tried them together yet).  I think it compliments chicken and pork well; I don't think it would be a good match with beef or venison.  I have zero experience with squash and Asian flavor profiles together, but I think it would probably be good with miso, soy sauce, and seaweeds because of the umami, and textures like water chestnut would compliment the softness/ creaminess.  I think in general, it goes best with sweet, salty, and umami ingredients, okay with certain kinds of bitter, and terrible with sour.  I still have a lot more experimenting to do though.

 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Both my husband and I grew up never eating (or knowing about) any winter squash that wasn't pumpkin...and pumpkin was only consumed in seed or pie form! But, my husband just got diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and he's started on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (also known as SCD or GAPS) so suddenly our diet has come to include a lot more squash... and I honestly know very little about winter squashes!

BUT, I know many of you know a lot about winter squashes! I've seen some really cool posts about how awesome they are. So, what's your favorite types of squash? What do you use them for? Are there more energy-efficient ways of cooking them other than baking a ton in the oven at once?

Here's a place to talk about your favorite winter squashes and recipes for them! (And for me to soak up all your knowledge )

Hi Nicole,

I'm unfamiliar with SCD, but I've yet to meet a squash I didn't like. My 3 favorite ways to eat winter squash are in a pasta sauce, as part of a roast veggies dish or as squash soup. The first two ways I got from a cookbook put out by my favorite restaurant when I was in college, Claire's Cornercopia. Unlike a lot of vegetarian cooking, they were not heavy on on dairy.  I remember a lot of pea and bean based soups with these miniature loaves of whole grain bread.  The cookbook has a recipe for a three squash pasta sauce that uses acorn squash, butternut squash and one other (pumpkin). I usually wind up going with just the acorn and butternut.  The primary seasoning is olive oil, garlic, and flat leaf parsley.  I've used the sauce on brown rice as well as pasta and served it alone as as a side with veggie patties.  As for the roasted veggies, I modified a Claire's recipe.  I was hankering for the dish, but it was fall, and many of the suggested veggies, like bell peppers, zucchini, and yellow squash weren't in season, so I decided to substitute veggies that were in season. Enter winter squash.  Decidedly less variation in color--lots more orange, but still a lovely, tasteless dish....And the aroma while it bake....Somebody, get me a grandma to slap.

As for squash soup, it's a classic.  Have tried several recipes.  Still amazed that you can get such a creamy texture and flavor, without dairy.
 
Dan Boone
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After the success of my squash-in-the-pasta-sauce experiment, yesterday I tried squash chili.  (No beef-rancher "if it has beans it's not chili" maximalism, please; to me, chili is a spiced-beans dish in which meat is but one of many potential ingredients.)


Since I'm currently eating plant-based, my normal chili is made in my electric pressure cooker with 2lb of beans plus onions, garlic powder, tomato paste, and spices.

This time I did everything the same (more onions than usual because they have been on sale very cheaply of late) except I omitted one of the two pounds of beans and instead added the flesh of one small butternut squash, cubed pretty small.  I used small white beans that hold together pretty well during cooking.  After cooking there were a few cubes of squash that hadn't fully disintegrated, so gave the pot a quick work-over with the potato masher.  That got rid of unsightly squash cubes and still left plenty of whole beans, although the overall chili texture was pleasantly smooth from dissolved squash and smashed beans. 

Flavorwise it was very pleasant, with the squash adding a bit of sweetness.  The texture was pure win; the squash particulates made it more like chilis made with meat,  instead of the pure "beans floating in broth" character.

I will be making this again.
 
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My all time favorite butternut squash recipe it to make a hash out of it. 

Cube a half of a butternut squash into 1/2" chunks
Cut up an entire onion
3 eggs
fat of your choice
salt, pepper and sage to taste.
cooked bacon in it is awesome but may not work for a GAPS diet.

Saute the onions and set them aside. 
Saute the squash and add the onions, bacon, salt, pepper, and sage once the squash is cooked.
Crack the eggs into the cooking dish and serve once the eggs are cooked.

I will also just cut up and boil hubbard squash, drain it and cover it in coconut oil salt and pepper as an easy side dish. 
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Wow, Kate, that looks yummy and simple.
 
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I love winter squash, both growing and eating.

Living in western Cascadia, my favorite winter squash is the Oregon Sweetmeat. It has the sweetest flavor, and an excellent smooth texture. It is a Maxima (Hubbard) variety, so it has a thick skin and is hard to cut, but the flavor is worth the trouble. We grow it every year. usually we either roast it whole and use the puree or we cut it into quarters and roast a quarter, scoop it out of the skin and eat it with butter, salt, and pepper. I also like it with tomato apple chutney, sun dried tomato pesto, gravy, or spiced pear sauce to name a few examples. I have plans to give a couple of them to a local brewer on a prolific year to make pumpkin beer, because it has a high enough sugar content. It does grow enough of a seed cavity that there is room for stuffing, like with chunky rice pilaf, but put the filling in hot or baking will take forever. The seeds of this variety are good to eat especially if you sprout them before roasting.

This year wasn't the most prolific for Sweetmeat, usually, if we get them in in a timely fashion we have more then we can use, but this year we didn't get the excess. This is the second year we are trying Carol Deppe's reselected Oregon Sweetmeat variety. We are liking the flavor and texture, but it doesn't seem to produce as prolifically as other Sweetmeat's we've tried. We've had cool springs/early summers the past two years, so that might be why we've have had smallish crops. It's a long season squash, and some of the fruit will be huge, like 15lbs. or more. You can freeze the baked puree, so you don't have to bake a whole squash every time you want 2 cups worth.

Another winter squash I love is Marina Di Chioggia which is a Maxima type. It has a flesh that is sweet, musky, and has a deep richness that makes it excel at savory dishes. I wouldn't use this one for a pumpkin pie, or pumpkin bread Sweetmeat is much better for that, but as a filling for ravioli, in a shepherds pie, or in a curry, Marina Di Chioggia is amazing. It has a really bumpy skin so it's easiest to just roast it and work from there. The Seed cavity is small, but the seeds are good to eat if sprouted before roasting.

Sometimes I even makes baba ganoush with winter squash, just use squash puree instead of eggplant. Winter squash is good stuff, good luck with your new diet and adventures in squash growing.
 
S Tonin
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Moyra, how long do you let the seeds sprout before roasting?  I really like powdered roasted lentil sprouts in breads and soups, so I'm definitely going to have to try this.
 
Moyra Fowler
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S Tonin wrote:Moyra, how long do you let the seeds sprout before roasting?  I really like powdered roasted lentil sprouts in breads and soups, so I'm definitely going to have to try this.


Haven't been too scientific about it, we usually let the seeds soak overnight for sprouting, then add a bit of salt to the water, then a couple of hours later remove from water, dry them off a little, then roast in the oven. The sprouting makes the seed shell easier to eat or peel off. If they aren't sprouted they shell can be too woody to eat. We aren't soaking them long enough to get proper sprouts, but we usually look at squash seeds as a snack to munch on like nuts. I had never even considered making actual sprouts out of them, I have no idea how that would work, but it's worth a try.
 
Yvonne Jackson
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Dan,
The squash in the chili sounds awesome.  I'll have to try that sometime.  I make vegan chili quite often. Though I've have other's chili with veggies other than onions and tomatoes, the only thing I've added so far is bell peppers and carrots.  I could totally see butternut or another of the sweeter squashes in chili.  Thanks.
 
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Im so sorry. I tried to "thumbs up" on some recipes on this thread but it did the opposit. This is the first time using my phone to respond so I don't know if its because of my fat fingers or what I did and I don't know how to change it.
If someone can undo it or tell me how to undo it on my (android) phone I'd appreciate it.
I want to try the recipes on this thread, not put them down!!

I'll go back to just lurking now.
 
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On the peeling... I do love the red kuri because I don't have to peel. Which other ones can be eaten without peeling? Just to explain what I do with the red kuri: I cut it into chunks, rub spices all over them and roast them in the oven until soft. Then puree and make soup. I am looking for more as I haven't been successful to grow kuri yet and they don't sell these much here. Usually one store get's one mixed organic squash delivery and 1/10 is red kuri or so. Expensive and hard to find so I need an alternative until I can grow them in masses myself.
 
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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Simone Gar wrote:On the peeling... I do love the red kuri because I don't have to peel. Which other ones can be eaten without peeling? Just to explain what I do with the red kuri: I cut it into chunks, rub spices all over them and roast them in the oven until soft. Then puree and make soup. I am looking for more as I haven't been successful to grow kuri yet and they don't sell these much here. Usually one store get's one mixed organic squash delivery and 1/10 is red kuri or so. Expensive and hard to find so I need an alternative until I can grow them in masses myself.

I had not herd of this variety before but it sounds like it is ideal for your zone according to the reviews on the seed company websites. Seems like it is one you could plant in a compost bin and let it cover your house for summer shade.
As for a substitute most any squash can be prepared as you describe except it must be scooped off of the skin before being pureed. If the organic squash delivery includes delcotto I would try that it has been the favorite in our co-op.
I usually don't want to heat up the oven so I just cut them in half and put them in the microwave for 10 minutes and then scoop the flesh out.
 
Simone Gar
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Location: Alberta, zone 3
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Hans Quistorff wrote:
I had not herd of this variety before but it sounds like it is ideal for your zone according to the reviews on the seed company websites. Seems like it is one you could plant in a compost bin and let it cover your house for summer shade.
As for a substitute most any squash can be prepared as you describe except it must be scooped off of the skin before being pureed. If the organic squash delivery includes delcotto I would try that it has been the favorite in our co-op.
I usually don't want to heat up the oven so I just cut them in half and put them in the microwave for 10 minutes and then scoop the flesh out.


I seem to run out of summer every time. Our frost free time is short. But I got a cold frame for next year so I can start earlier.
I have never thought of using the microwave! I'll try that. The no-peel kuri is just great. I work a full time job and farm so time is limited. Scooping after microwaving though sounds easy and quick enough. Thanks!
Never heard of Delcotto. I'll look that up
 
Nicole Alderman
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Simone, that's great to hear about how easy Kuri is to cook, and that it's skins are edible! I saw an improved Kuri variety called Orange Summer F1 in High Mowing's seed catalog. It supposedly only takes 90 days to mature and resistance to powdery mildew. I was thinking about seeing if they would grow for me, and hearing that they are yummy and easy to eat makes me really excited to try them!

I think Hans might have been referring to "Delicata" squash, which the High Mowing catalog says has a soft, edible skin. High Mowing has a variety called "Bush Delicata" that supposedly only takes 80 days to mature. Maybe you'd be able to squeeze that into your short growing season?

I'd post links to the varieties on High Mowing website, but my internet is reeeeeeally slow right now and their website (https://www.highmowingseeds.com) is taking a looooong time to load, so I'm just relying on the catalog I got in the mail...
 
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Location: Des Moines, WA. St. Just South of Seattle
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Winter squash is my favorite vegetable. I grow several different types each year looking for the best tasters, to me. My favorite way, to taste the squash is to cut into wedges, peel and steam in the Micro wave. When cooked through I puree. This is pure squash with pure flavor. This way I can tell if it is to be eaten without any thing added, my favorite way to eat squash. The ones that, for my taste buds, I don't care for I use in soups, hot sauces, relishes, jams, pies, breads, desserts, etc. OR give to others who have different taste buds. My taste buds like "Kabocha" best. Then Sweetmeat types {ex: Homestead Sweetmeat, Sweetmeat, Katy's Sweet, Sweet Keeper}, Marina Di Chioggia, Yamikens, buttercups and then various Hubbards. My wife likes Butternut types in addition to those I like. 
 
pollinator
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Nice to have so many new recipes for squash or pumpkin! I have only one species, the orange Japanese pumpkin type. That's the one that grows best in my region. This year I had some 'volunteer' plants, coming from seeds hided in the compost. The plants climbed up to about 6 ft (together with the kiwi plant). This pumpkin grew high up there!
 
gardener
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"Both my husband and I grew up never eating (or knowing about) any winter squash that wasn't pumpkin..."

I found this statement completely amazing. We have more foods available to us now, than at any time in human history, with all of the crops from every part of the world, available to anyone who cares to plant them. To me, introducing a wide variety of healthy foods, is an important part of parenting.

I don't have any particular squash that I like to promote. I make mine flavorful, by filling the seed cavity, with meaty stews and cheese dishes. I sometimes also put the seeds back in, mixed with dates, raisins or other dried fruit, to create a dessert in a squash. Beyond that, I think squash makes a great butter delivery system.
 
Simone Gar
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:Nice to have so many new recipes for squash or pumpkin! I have only one species, the orange Japanese pumpkin type. That's the one that grows best in my region. This year I had some 'volunteer' plants, coming from seeds hided in the compost. The plants climbed up to about 6 ft (together with the kiwi plant). This pumpkin grew high up there!


That's my favourite!
 
master steward
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I must admit I never had pumpkin until I moved to France . Must be a culture thing traditionally we made Halloween lanterns out of swedes/turnips .
I have become a big fan of red Kuri too it is also a good size for a couple if you are cooking for two I don't like large half pumpkins hanging around  ,this year I am growing red Kuri ,green Kuri and a plant each of butternut and a larger orange type . I hope to harvest about 30 and they should last from nov to may . By may we are fed up of them and it's time to start growing them again
David
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:So, what's your favorite types of squash? What do you use them for? Are there more energy-efficient ways of cooking them other than baking a ton in the oven at once?

Here's a place to talk about your favorite winter squashes and recipes for them! (And for me to soak up all your knowledge )


I know you specifically asked about winter squash, but as I use them and summer squash similarly sometimes and we have both right now, I hope you don't mind me including both in this response.

I put pickled yellow squash or zucchini squash on a sandwich with pickled cucumbers Sometimes I just eat it like pickle slices. I am considering trying this with winter squash, but suspect it may be too tough. (Yellow squash gets pretty soft quickly; zucchini has worked best although also softer than cucumbers.)

Note that I make pickled cucumbers, squash and zucchini without canning them. Just cut them up and throw them in canning jars; cover with the usual vinegar/water/sugar mixture; put the lids on tight and turn them upside down to seal. Then put them in the refrigerator. If you're going to eat them quickly and they're refrigerated, you don't need to pressure can things I also do this with tomatoes and soups if I can eat them quickly. 

SQUASH PASTA >> I like to use a peeler to create strips of zucchini or yellow squash. I put 1 TBLS coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet. Peel the thick part into the pan in strips like bacon because it takes longer to get tender.

Then I keep peeling the rest of the squash into the pan. Eventually, I stir them so they get coated in oil and tender all around. The part with seeds I either slice like cucumbers to eat on the side or cut into tiny cubes and throw in the pan, too.

Once it is tender I heap it on a plate and cover it in hot pasta sauce.

SQUASH IN SOUP* (NOT squash soup) >> All squashes can be put into soups, but the winter squash hold up best. I cut sweet potatoes (even if they're dried out) or butternut squash into cubes and put them into whatever kind of soup I'm having.

This is typically a whole crock pot chicken that was originally made with potatoes, carrots and onions. I slice the white meat and eat it with the potatoes and carrots. Then I cook the entire rest of the chicken down into the broth (add more water) and add the squash, sweet potatoes, or more potatoes and carrots, and/or more onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.

SAUTEED SQUASH >> Another way to make squash yummy is to just sautee cubes in coconut oil. Once tender, add Braggs Aminos (organic soy sauce alternative) and balsamic vinegar. Instead of being pretty bland and tasteless, the squash is sweet and flavorful.

STIR FRIES >> I often add zucchini and yellow squash in this manner to stir fries that may also include onions, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, etc.

TOASTER OVEN >> You can also slice zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise and put it in a toaster oven with a little butter and balsamic vinegar. This makes it a little crisper and less tender and is a good alternative. Bake winter squash in the toaster oven instead of using the full-size oven to save energy and heat the house up less. No doubt some also do squash on the bar-b-que.

BAKED SQUASH >> Larger, winter squash can be cut in half lengthwise and baked with butter and organic brown sugar. Those that fit I do in the toaster oven instead of the regular oven.

CANDIED SQUASH >>  Cut squash into chunks like you would sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving. Cover in water, salt lightly, and cook until starting to get tender. (This takes quite a while.) Add butter and brown sugar and cook until candied. (Start this a long time before you plan to eat - it takes a very long time, but is worth it as a rare treat.)

SQUASH QUICK BREAD >> There are tons of recipes online for zucchini squash. There are also yellow squash recipes. We can make pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie, so it stands to reason there are probably also recipes for winter squash breads and pies.

SQUASH POTATO SALAD >> As zucchini and yellow squash have little taste of their own, I have baked them and then cubed them the same size as the potatoes for a potato salad and added as much as half squash. No one even noticed.

BREADED FRIED SQUASH >> Some small restaurants in Texas serve breaded, fried squash as a side dish. I assume they're using zucchini or yellow squash, but it might be worth searching for additional recipes if you eat fried food. (I recommend using coconut oil NOT gmo soy, corn or canola oils if you do.)

NOTE about peeling >> Because it is believed that many of the nutrients in foods are located just under the peel, I tend to eat peels and all in most vegetables including squash and potatoes. I do not eat pumpkin skins and if you bake winter squash most of the peel won't be very edible. You can remove the peels in any of the above if you prefer.
 
master steward
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What GREAT info here! Joseph, you are amazing as usual! With all the lists and lists of winter squash cooking tips and recipes, this is a thread I will certainly turn to again.

As others mentioned putting cubes of squash in soup, I almost prefer cubes of squash in a simple Thai style coconut milk curry:
--boil or steam your squash cubes first (about 20 minutes), reserve cooking water (or sweet potatoes or potatoes)
--dissolve 2 to 4 oz. curry paste for each 2 cans of full fat coconut milk in the coconut milk, heat on medium heat
--season with keffir lime leaves or lemongrass if desired
--cook your cubed, raw meat, if desired*, and cubed vegetables (besides squash, I like bell peppers, eggplant, broccoli, onions, green peas, carrots...) in the simmering curried milk for 15-20 minutes  (*we often keep the meat separate and let folks add in meat or cooked chick peas, etc. as they want though of course cooking in the curried milk is the best flavor)
--thin with squash (or potato) cooking water if desired (I usually do not thin the curry and use the cooking water for making broth or stock)
--just before serving add chopped fresh basil, and fish sauce to taste, if desired, (2-4 T fish sauce per each 2 cans of milk)
--serve over rice (or cauliflower rice) or without as a hearty bowl of yum on its own

For roast squash, this Autumn Spice Oil from Kristen Lee-Charlson's blog post is amazing (see that link for her Vanilla Mashed Winter Squash Recipe, too):
Autumn Spice Oil
Makes 1 cup
4 star anise
1/2 tablespoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon allspice
1 medium cinnamon stick, crushed, or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
2 pieces dried orange peel, optional
1 cup mild olive oil
  • Put the star anise, juniper berries, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves in an 8-inch saute pan and toast over medium heat, shaking constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.
  • Transfer the spices to a spice or coffee grinder and pulse for a few seconds.
  • Transfer the spices to a bowl, add the vanilla bean and orange peel, if using, and set aside.
  • Pour the oil into a small pot and heat it over medium-low heat until warm.
  • Pour the oil over the spices and vanilla. Cover and let infuse at room temperature for 24 hours, periodically mixing the bowl.
  • Strain spice mixture.
  • Cover and keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or refrigerate for up to 1 month.

  • Drizzle this over the Vanilla Mashed Winter Squash or on top of a winter squash soup.

    Okay, I see now that I've kept the Autumn Spice Oil I made for much longer than a month, not refrigerated, and I think it's been just fine. It was buried in the cupboard and this thread reminded me to bring it out again!

     
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