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Our 6 Favorite Sweater-Weather Squash

November 11, 2019

Hearty meals and sweater weather go hand in hand, and both are in full swing in the Midwest. Squash season is here, and that means quite a few unique varieties that are sure to spark curiosity and tantalize the taste buds. Here are handful everyone ought to try:

Turban

The Turban variety makes for a lovely ornamental squash that is as tasty as it is aesthetically pleasing. A red-orange base is topped with a turban-like cap on the blossom end, with streaks of green, white and yellow making each squash unique. Its mildly sweet, nutty flesh has a pale-yellow color and soft floury texture. While its skin is inedible, the flesh can be baked, steamed or roasted. From there, some prefer to cube it and throw it in chili, stir fry, green salads or quinoa salads. You can also mash, fluff and serve it inside of its hollowed-out caps for a charming visual presentation. Dry spices like nutmeg, ginger and cayenne can be used to enhance the mild flavor of this squash. 

 

Blue Hubbard

Large and in charge, the Blue Hubbard squash is an appealing blue-gray color on the outside, with golden flesh on the inside. The rich flavor can be described as a hybrid between sweet potato and pumpkin. Because of its tender, starchy and somewhat mealy texture, this squash is best pureed. Pair it with chipotle, chili, curry and sage flavors, and use it in soups, stews, casseroles, risotto, couscous or pasta dishes. If you want to go the sweet route, pair with cinnamon and brown sugar, and use it in baked goods. This squash will store well up to six months, as long as it is in a cool, dry place.

 

 

Red Kuri

Originating in Japan, Red Kuri squash is believed to be a descendant of the Hubbard Squash. Its smooth, dense flesh has a sweet and nutty flavor that is similar to that of chestnuts. Whether you roast, bake, boil or sauté it, this squash is nice in curries, soups, gratins and hash. Another fun prep idea is to cut the squash in half, taking out the stringy pulp and seeds, and stuff it with sausage, fall veggies or fruits, and bake it. Dried cranberries, apples, white beans, mustard greens and parmesan will pair well. Sweet applications can also be tasty. Try Red Kuri squash in muffins, tarts or bread pudding.

 

 

 

Delicata

Sometimes called the “sweet potato squash,” Delicata squash is rich, creamy and moist. Unlike most autumn harvest squash, it has thin, edible skin. Its flavor has been compared to brown sugar or pumpkin pie, with a hint of fresh corn. Both sweet and savory preparations can be implemented. A favorite is stuffing the inside with meats, cheeses and grains, and baking. It also makes a great filing for tacos, a topping for pizza or even sliced in sandwiches. Its cylindrical shape allows for slicing into rings and tossing in curry or chili powder, resulting in a crispy chip-like snack when roasted.

 

 

Kabocha

Also called the “Japanese Pumpkin,” Kabocha squash has a thick, dark green skin and velvety flesh with a sweet, buttery flavor. It can be used to add sweetness to a dish without adding any sugar. In Japanese cooking, it is often fried in tempura batter or slow simmered in hot pots and soups. It can even be used in sushi. Feel free to use this squash as a substitute for pumpkin, butternut squash or acorn squash in any recipe. It’s cream colored seeds can be roasted much like pumpkin seeds as well. It pairs nicely braised with cold-weather root vegetables and can also be incorporated into croquettes, cakes or sauces.

 

 

 Chayote

Pear-shaped with creamy white-colored flesh, the Chayote squash has a fresh taste and crunch similar to a cucumber or water chestnut. Like the Delicata squash, its pale-green skin is relatively soft and can be eaten. It can be pickled and preserved, eaten raw in salads, or makes a great side to a meat dish when grilled or fried. Native to Mexico, Chayote pairs well with bold spices like chipotle, harissa and curry. Garlic and bacon also compliment this squash when cooked, especially topped with parmesan or goat cheese. When raw, it is also a great vessel for creamy dips.

 

While traditional winter squash like butternut, spaghetti and acorn will always have a place in our hearts, we truly love experimenting with lesser known produce. We invite you to join the fun this holiday season. Versatility is the spice of life after all.

 

 

 Written by Marianna Marchenko