Thursday, October 4, 2012

Squash and Gourds... A-Z... late day post!

Continuing with squash K through R; here we find unusual squash types, the best-known of which are the kabocha, pattypan and of course, the pumpkin. More rare varieties include the lumina, orangetti and red kuri squash.

Kabocha Squash

“Kabocha” is the general term for squash in Japanese, but this Japanese squash also goes by the name ebisu, delica, hoka and (you guessed it) Japanese squash or Japanese pumpkin. The mossy-green rind with spotted streaks of gray-teal encase a tender, sweet pumpkin flesh, but without the stringy fibers.

Available year-round     

Luffa Gourd (See Chinese okra)

Lumina Squash

Lumina is a round, white squash that is sometimes carved like a pumpkin for decoration.

Available in the fall and throughout winter 

Mo Qua Squash

Mo qua is a squash of Chinese origin. A relative of winter melon, mo qua looks like a zucchini with medium green skin and is covered with fuzzy white hairs. Like zucchini, the flesh is light-colored, slightly firm, mildly flavored and can absorb the flavor of any food it is combined with. Peeled, seeded and cubed, Mo Qua is usually stir-fried, braised, boiled or added to soups.

Available year-round

Orange Hokkaido Squash (See red kuri squash)

Orangetti Squash or Vegetable Spaghetti

The pale, orange-fleshed cousin of the spaghetti squash shares the same quality of separating into long spaghetti-like strands as it cooks. The watermelon- shaped orangetti squash is golden and smooth, and its delicate strands can be cooked like a conventional squash. it is especially impressive piled on top of a plate, like real pasta.

Available August through October

Pattypan or Sunburst Squash or Baby Summer Squash

These cute, dreidel-like squash come in yellow, green and white. They have scalloped edges and, like most other summer squash, a thin skin and tender meat. They can be cooked in the microwave, bake in the oven, on the stove, or can be used cooked or uncooked as a charming garnish for any dish.

Available year-round, but the peak season is May through August.

Pebbled or Warty

Pebbled or warty refers to the bumps on the surface of some varieties of squash. The crookneck squash is an excellent example. The pebbles are considered to add to the attractiveness as decorative gourds, and have no impact on flavor.


Drier, coarser and more strongly flavored than most other squash, pumpkins are harbingers of autumn, for Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and evocative of pumpkin pie. They are mostly ornamental; most people who bake with pumpkin do so with the canned variety due to the time demands of preparing the fresh, fibrous flesh; and much canned “pumpkin” is a less fibrous variety of squash. There are many pumpkin variations, such as the Gold Dust, Jack-Be-Little, Lil-Pump-Kee-Mon, Wee-Be-Little, and various white pumpkins (Baby-Boo, Cotton Candy, Valenciano and others).

Available year round, but best in the early fall throughout winter.

Red Etampes Squash (See Cinderella Pumpkin)

Red Kuri Squash or Uchiki Kuri Squash or Orange Hokkaido

With butter-colored flesh that is smoother than butternut squash, this teardrop-shaped squash with an intense, sunset-colored rind has a pronounced, distinctive chestnut flavor. It makes a unique soup base that allows it to be paired with many other ingredients.

Available year-round Best season is late summer through early fall.

Alright! We are almost at the end. Come back tomorrow for my final installment in the Squash and Gourds series

Source: The Nibble

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