Sunday, November 8, 2015

Squash - a Primer

We grow several types of squash and pie pumpkins.  They are from different branches of the curcurbit family that includes not only winter squash, but also cucumbers, melons, and gourds.

Winter squash and pie pumpkins usually fall into one of three branches of the curcurbit family.  First there are acorn - pepo.  Pie pumpkins are also in this branch.  Acorn and pie pumpkins have more moisture and fiber.  Acorn squash ripen first and are best eaten soon after harvest.

Sweet dumpling, another pepo, is a cross between the small, sweet delicata and acorn.  They have firmer texture, sweeter flavor and keep for a longer time

Buttercup are in the maxima branch of the family.   Theirs is the driest flesh, less sweet, but great flavor 

Hubbards are also maxima.  They have hard shells and keep the longest, but usually are too large for most of our CSA and on line members

Finally in the moshata branch are the beige butternut squash.  these good keepers have the smoothest flesh and are my first choice for squash soup.

And for many baked goods like squash breads and cookies my first choice is pie pumpkins.  Of course as the name implies, they are also most people's first choice for pie.

No matter which you choose, squash are a nutritional powerhouse and a great seasonal treat!

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