Friday, October 5, 2012

It's the final installment of the Squash and Gourds series!

Here we are the final installment of Squash and Gourds. Squash types beginning with S to Z include spaghetti squash, yellow squash (yellow zucchini) and zucchini; as well as more exotic squash types such as sweet dumpling squash and turban squash. I've also included a general overview of summer squash versus winter squash.

Silk Melon Squash (See Chinese Okra)

Spaghetti Squash or Vegetable Spaghetti

This watermelon-shaped squash is known for flesh that separates into long, blond, spaghetti-like strands as it cooks; it can be used in any recipe that regular spaghetti would be used in. The strands can be used in salads, casseroles or on a plate with sauce. The spaghetti squash has a mellow-taste with a slight crispness not found in pasta. The more yellow the rind, the riper the squash (See also Orangetti Squash).

Available year-round, but best early fall through winter.

Summer Squash

Summer squash is a category of thin-skinned squash; the skin is edible and bruises easily. The flesh is moister, due to higher water content, than winter squash. Examples include zucchini and the crookneck squash. They have a relatively short shelf-life: two weeks in the refrigerator. Different varieties of summer squash are found in yellow, green and white.

Sweet Dumpling Squash

The cream or daffodil-colored rind of the pretty sweet dumpling squash boasts thick deep ribs, which are lined with green or orange. Sweet dumpling squash lives up to its name for being sweet and tender. The petite squash can be held in one hand, making it a “dumpling” in comparison to other squash with ribbed, pumpkin-type shapes. It’s a great size for roasting or baking as individual servings.

Available throughout the fall

Sweet Potato Squash (See Delicata Squash)

Turban or Turkish Turban Squash

The turban squash is distinctively shaped like a sultan’s turban and can be striking in its color. It can vary from orange, red, green and white, sometimes combining all four colors to create a uniquely beautiful squash. The flavor of the yellow flesh reminds some of hazelnut, and its good size makes a wonderful bowl for an individual serving of soup when it is hollowed out. The bottom can be cut off to be hollowed out or stuffed.

Available year-round, best season late summer through early fall.

Uchiki Kuri Squash (See Red Kuri Squash)

 Vegetable Spaghetti (See Spaghetti Squash)

 West Indian Squash (See Calabaza Squash)

Winter Squash

Winter squash is a category of squash that has hard, thick rinds that are not edible. Examples include pumpkins and acorn squash. The flesh is drier—less moist—than summer squash. Kept in cool, dark places, winter squash will have a shelf life of up to three months.

Yellow Squash or Yellow Zucchini

Yellow squash comes in a number of varieties including crookneck, straightneck, pattypan and yellow zucchini. The crookneck has a curved bottleneck, while the straightneck is straight. Pattypan are small dreidel- or top-shaped (like a spinning top) squash with scalloped edges. Like all summer squash, they have a thin edible skin that does not need peeling, and are usually tender and mildly sweet.

Available year-round     


Often paired with its cousin, yellow squash, zucchini is one of the most popular summer squash. Its mild flavor is versatile; it can be eaten raw, grilled, fried, sautéed, baked, tossed in salads, in pasta dishes, on sandwiches, or even baked into bread and cake. Look for glossy, firm, dark green skin.

Available year-round     

Zucchini Blossom

The flowering tip of the zucchini is a gourmet delicacy. It is generally served as a side dish, sautéed or deep-fried.

Available in the spring and summer

Oh, this series was great fun! Adrian, Little Aiden and I had lots of fun squash and gourds hunting. Come back tomorrow for some delicious recipes that uses squash and gourds.

Source: The Nibble

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