10 facts about squash you always wanted to know (and recipes)

Nothing says fall like a gourd in your CSA farm box.

Things about squash you always wanted to know:

1)All Squash skins are edible, not all are as tasty.  Best skin-on squashes: zucchini, summer squash, delicata.

2)Squash Seeds: hmm. All squash seeds are edible too! They taste best roasted.

3)Making Squash Puree: Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and roast until squash is for tender. (I used temp 375F for 45 min. with 2C of water in the roasting pan for 4 acorn squashes, quartered, skin side down). Search around, everyone has their method-I searched and there is no definitive. Some roast with water, some cover with foil, skin up, skin down, others add their seasonings and butter as it roasts. My guess is, it depends on what your squash is destined for. A basic puree will do fine at the basic 375 until tender- you can refrigerate it or freeze it until you know what you want to do with it- and then add all you butter and seasonings.  I like the idea of adding water to the roasting pan because it steams the squash as it bakes instead of making it too brown. We’re making puree, not roasted squash.

4)How long does squash puree last? 3 days in the fridge, a few months in the freezer. Squash puree freezes well.

5) a.Squash Swaps: Did you know most pumpkin-in-a-can contains more butternut squash than pumpkin?

5) b. Yes you can make pie without the pumpkin.

6) Subbing squash for pumpkin et al: “Winter squash is quite moist and requires thorough draining in cheesecloth.(Joy of Cooking). I made squash gnocchi subbing kabocha squash for the potatoes the puree tasted really nice but I found that I had to add a lot of flour – too much for any kind of respectable  gnocchi. What you are aiming for in a gnocchi is a bind, with minimal water, and not too much flour. What happened with the kabocha squash was an incredibly floury squash gnocchi. When we had acorn squash in the CSA- I thought I would try again-but I needed to get the water content out of the squash!  and MARIO BATALI agrees:  Squash makes a great gnocchi but there is too much water content in the squash- so “Scoop the flesh into a strainer placed over a large bowl. Place in the refrigerator so that the squash cools and the liquid drains away. Leave for at least 6 hours or overnight.(Food Network)”

7)Golden rule of squash pies:Although these pies are made with cooked vegetable purees, structurally speaking they are actually custard pies and should be handled in a similar way. ..remove the pie from the oven as soon as the center quivers like gelatin when the pan is nudged. The pie will  continue to set up as it cools (Joy of Cooking) .” As one blogger notes: If your pumpkin/squash pie begins to puff up or souffle you have gone to far.

8) Squash Varieties: Summer Squash includes- Zuchinni, Yellow Squash, Patty-Pan, Pumpkin. Winter Squash: Acorn, Butternut, Turan, Spaghetti, here is a link from westcoast seeds, each one has their own particular flavours.

9)Flavour affinities for Squash:
Summer squash: garlic, pepper…
Winter Squash: Ginger, Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar, Parmesan, Pepper, Apples, coconut milk, cumin, cloves.
Both: butter; cream; olive oil; lemon/lime; Chicken Stock (soup!);chilies; onions; cheese (parmesan!goat cheese! ricotta!) herbs such as thyme, sage, bay leaf, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary.

10) So you have all this squash puree- what can you use it for?
Top recipes:
Apple & Acorn Squash Pie(The Fresh Dish.com).
Squash gnocchi (Mario Batali/Food Network)
Squash risotto
Squash and black bean tacos: This turned into two recipes. I roasted my delicatas at 375 for 20 minutes with a bit of olive oil and salt and chili powder. As they cooled I made the taco fillings. What happened was the delicatas tasted amazing on their own. I was eating them as made the fillings. Sometimes with a dip in a bit of sour cream- they were almost like chips. They were just as good inside the black bean tacos- but if you want to do a taco day these are really nice to serve on the side for people to dip in and add to their tacos to their liking- and .. your guests will really start to like squash!



Resources:
Irmas S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer and Ethan Becker. Joy of Cooking (1997 ed). New York: Scriber, 1997.
Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.The Flavour Bible. New York: Little Brown & Company, 2008.

Many thanks to The Fresh Dish! and Honey Hill Farms- I look forward to sharing more recipes!

This post is a last minute addition to: Fresh Food Wednesdays at Gastronomical Sovereignty- link-up your recipes to a Canadian, local, fresh food supporter! :

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6 Responses to “10 facts about squash you always wanted to know (and recipes)”

  1. Who knew there were so many interesting things about squash? Hmmm …

  2. squash is by far one of my favorite vegetables in the fall. you’ve written a very comprehensive and useful tool here for figuring out squash.

    ….I need to get on the squash train a little more this year 🙂

    thanks for sharing with us at the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link-up! I hope to see you again this week with more seasonal & whole/real food posts! xo, kristy.

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