Monday, May 12, 2008

Squash Varieties (Part 3 of 4)

Gold Nugget - A variety of winter squash, which is sometimes referred to as an Oriental pumpkin that has the appearance of a small pumpkin in shape and color. It ranges in size from one to three pounds. Golden nugget squashes are small, weighing on average about 1 pound. Both the skin and the flesh are orange.
Gold Nugget Squash may be cooked whole or split lengthwise (removing seeds). Pierce whole squash in several places, and bake halved squash hollow side up.
Available year-round - is best season is late summer through early winter.

Hubbard - The extra-hard skins make them one of the best keeping winter squashes. These are very large and irregularly shaped, with a skin that is quite "warted" and irregular. They range from big to enormous, have a blue/gray skin, and taper at the ends. Like all winter garden squash, they have an inedible skin, large, fully developed seeds that must be scooped out, and a dense flesh.
Hubbard squash is often sold in pieces because it can grow to cumbersome sizes. The yellow flesh of these tends to be very moist and longer cooking times in the oven are needed. They are generally peeled and boiled, cut up and roasted, or cut small and steamed or sautéed. It's perfect for pies.
Hubbard squash, if in good condition initially, can be successfully stored 6 months at 50 to 55 degree F. with 70% relative humidity. A 15% loss in weight from shrinkage for 6 months storage would be average. Less rot will develop in the Hubbard squash if stems are completely removed before storage. Hubbard squash and other dark-green-skinned squashes should not be stored near apples, as the ethylene from apples may cause the skin to turn orange-yellow.
Available year-round - peak season is early fall throughout winter.

Kabocha (Also known as a Ebisu, Delica, Hoka, Hokkaido, or Japanese Pumpkin) - Kabocha is the generic Japanese word for squash, but refers most commonly to a squash of the buttercup type.
Kobocha Squash may be cooked whole or split lengthwise (removing seeds). It has a rich sweet flavor, and often dry and flaky when cooked. Use in any dish in which buttercup squash would work.
Available year-round.


A Primer on Winter Squash, North Coast Cooperative.

The Sweet & Savory Sides of Winter Squash, by Ris Lacoste, Taunton Press.

Winter Squash Good Keepers in Produce Department, by Patricia Aaron, Sept. 24, 2003.

Wonderful Winter Squash, by Terra Brockman, Conscious Choice, October 2002.