Monday, October 1, 2012

Squash and Gourds... A-Z... and it continue!

... And so it continues... Squash types beginning with D through J include unusual squash types, the best-known of which is the Hubbard. More rare varieties include the delicata, eight-ball, gold nugget and green-striped cushaw.

Let’s begin!

Decorative Squash

Decorative squash are edible winter squash with unusual shapes and/or markings that make attractive centerpieces and other household decor. They are also known as ornamental squash. Examples include the baby boo pumpkin, carnival squash, the calabash squash, the delicata squash, and the turban squash.

Turban squash

Delicata Squash or Sweet Potato Squash

The oblong delicata squash has lemon-colored skin streaked with green or orange. The meat is a cross between butternut squash and sweet potato, so much so that it is also called sweet potato squash. It is also known as Bohemian squash.

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

Eight-Ball Squash

The fattened, round eight-ball squash from California is a spherical hybrid of zucchini. Sharing the same dark, speckled green skin and plump insides, this squash can be prepared exactly the same way as zucchini.

Available from spring until fall

Fairytale Pumpkin

The Fairytale pumpkin is a charming, flat-shaped squash with deep ribs. It is a large, flat (cheese-wheel-shaped) winter pumpkin, growing to 20 pounds. The mature pumpkin has an orange-brown rind; the flesh is deep orange, tender and sweet, making it delicious as well as decorative option. The fairytale pumpkin is known in France (and often in the U.S.) as a musquee de Provence meaning, “Favorite pumpkin of chefs. ... A beautiful heirloom from the South of France with large 20 pound flattened fruits that are heavily ribbed”.

Gold Ball Squash

A newer variety hybrid of gold zucchini, gold ball squash are round and make a beautiful still life. Use it as you would a zucchini, or use it as a bowl. Scoop out seeds, fill it with your favorite dip or salad, or cook in halves, then fill with other vegetables, or foods.

Gold Nugget Squash

Similar to a hand-size pumpkin, this dull-skinned squash (the dull skin indicates maturity) is a deep orange inside. Noted for its blander taste compared to other squashes, gold nugget squash can be found throughout the year.

The best season is late summer through early winter.

Gooseneck Squash

He Gooseneck squash is a winter squash similar to the calabash squash. But instead of the calabash’s bottleneck shape (see my previous installment in the series), the neck is naturally bent to resemble a goose’s neck.


A gourd is the hollow, dried shell of a fruit in the plant family Cucurbitaceae, to which squash belong. There are edible gourds (squash), and those non-edible varieties used as vessels, musical instruments and for decor. Gourds are believed to be the earliest plant domesticated by man, in Africa, where they were used as bowls and bottles (they are still used today to drink yerba maté in South America). The rattling dried seeds inside enable gourds to be used as percussion instruments; even today, gourds are used as resonating chambers on certain stringed instruments and drums, especially in the Caribbean.

So SQUASH ARE GOURDS!! How cool is that!

Decorative Gourds

Green-Striped Cushaw Squash

The cushaw is a white squash, mottled and striped with green and crookneck-shaped. Its yellow flesh is best suited for pies and fillings because it is slightly sweet, but thick and coarse. It tastes very much like a pumpkin, and could be an even better alternative.

Available late summer to the end of winter

Hubbard Squash (Blue, Golden, Green, or Gray)

Large and bumpy like a misshapen teardrop, this squash is well-known for its wart-covered exterior and its peach-colored flesh. Hubbard squash is generally uniform in color, although the gray variety has a dusty appearance. The flesh is moist, but is best prepared boiled or baked and then puréed. Longer cooking helps breakdown its fibrousness and evaporates some of the excess water.

Available year-round, but peak season is early fall throughout winter.

Indian Bitter Melon

Resembling a bumpy cucumber, Indian Bitter Melon is much smaller than Chinese Bitter Melon, only 4 to 5 inches in length. The grooved yellow-green to dark-green skin holds a fibrous, seed-filled core ... The lighter the color, the milder the taste. Its slightly sour flavor becomes quite bitter upon ripening. This bitter or quinine flavor is often combined with garlic or chili. It is used in soups, curries, stir-fry, or can be steamed and braised.

Available January through November

Italian Squash

See cucuzza squash.

Jarrahdale Pumpkin

See Australia blue squash.

Source: The Nibble

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