South Central WI Archive
  • South Central Wisconsin
  • November 2015
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Squash adventures

Everyone is talking about pumpkins now in drinks, cakes, pies, gelato, cookies and more. We all get in a rut with serving pumpkin, butternut and acorn squash for the holidays, but there are so many types of squash with a wide variety of different flavors. They range from sweet to bitter, juicy to meaty pulp. All can be used as a side, stuffed or as a stuffing, soup, sauces and pies, and other baked goods.

Don’t be intimidated by the bumps, size or color of the wide variety of this versatile vegetable. Squash is in the cucurbita family and it has many genera with again as many species and subspecies. Identifying them can also be a bit challenging, so don’t worry if your market can’t tell you the name. Many of them have names in their culture’s language. You have to go to the botanical name to really know. Also, many people have kept their unique squash traditions alive through seed savings over many years. Some have hybridized and so are truly one of a kind. Squashes are used regularly in Japan, China, Thailand, South America, Europe, the US and other cuisine around the world. So go to specialty markets like Hmong growers for the really interesting ones. Squash have a long interesting history, so explore!

Benefits: Easy to grow, find, make, store and they’re healthy!

Summer squashes grow easily and the results are prolific. Lots of shapes, and easy and quick to prepare. Freeze well.

Winter squashes are great keepers. Cure the winter squash such as Delicata by letting them sit for 10 days, at 80 degrees and 80 percent humidity with lots of air flow. This also effects the sweetness. They last a long time (months) in cool (50 degrees) dark storage with about 50 percent humidity. Do not wash them. They can also be cooked down and canned or frozen. Can be used in savory or sweet dishes.

Nutritionally, the color orange indicates high levels of carotenoids, which protects the heart and has anti-inflammatory properties. Winter squash is an antioxidant, containing omega-3s and beta carotene, which converts to Vitamin A.

Easy Squash Soup using an Australian Butter squash

Ingredients:

1 quart cooked squash puree

1 quart chicken/veggie stock

8 ounces cream or coconut milk

1 small white onion

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

Dash of cayenne

Dash of nutmeg

Salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

Sautee the onions until clear in olive oil, not carmelized. Add seasonings and bloom for about two minutes. Add puree, broth and stir to warm (not boiling). Finish with cream or coconut milk. Garnish with cilantro.


References: “Winter Squash Food of the Week.” The World’s Healthiest Foods. www.whfood.com.

“Heirloom Pumpkins and Other Squash.” Mother Earth News. www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/heirloom-pumpkin-varieties-zewz1309zpit.aspx.

“How to Field Cure Squash.” YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99eQ-OWaVU.

Debi Morton

Debi Morton owns Driftless Depot Organic Market, Deli & Café, 140 Winsted St. in Spring Green. She is a lifelong foodie, chef and advocate of eating seasonally. Debi and her husband are also organic and biodynamic growers of fruits and vegetables. For more information, visit www.driftlessdepot.com or call 608-628-1001.

Website: www.driftlessdepot.com
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