Fall is definitely one of my favorite times of year for multiple reasons. I love to go out leaf peeping, watching football on Sundays (go Packers) and picking apples and various veggies from friends' gardens. One of my favorite fall treats is squash. It's sweet, tasty and generally speaking, you don't have to add much to it after it's cooked. It's sweet enough and has enough moisture that you don't have to add much to it. Generally, I eat it right out of the skin. Mmm! I worked at an orchard that sells squash in the fall, so I know about the many types of squash there are. I never really thought about the fact that most people probably don't know what the different squash varieties. I was walking around the grocery store the other day and saw at least six different kinds of squash. I decided that in this edition of Tasty Thursday, I would break down some of the more popular squash choices and how to prepare them. So here we go!
When I think of squash, I generally think of this variety. It looks like a bell and is about two to four pounds when you pick one out. It has a nice light brown(or light orangeish?) color on the outside. Generally speaking, the deeper the outside color, the riper the squash. This variety of squash is used in many soups because it tends to be less stringy than the others.
This squash has a nice deep green color on the outside and it looks like...you guessed it, an acorn. This is another common squash that you can find in the local grocery store. I love to bake this squash and eat the flesh right out of the skin, without any butter or brown sugar. One of the ways you can tell this squash is ripe and ready for eating is looking on the skin. If you see that the skin has started to turn from a green to a yellowish orange color, you know that it is ripe! Acorn squash is good for people who live on their own, or are not feeding a ton of people. One Acorn squash will be plenty for one or two people.
We sold this variety at the orchard, and I think a lot of people had no idea what to do with them. These are undoubtedly one of the more bizarre looking crops around. People tend to have no idea what they are, or what to do with them. Hubbards are tasty and are good for feeding large groups of people. If you have a big Thanksgiving meal with tons of people, Hubbards are the way to go. They have a hard outside skin (inedible) and a ton of flesh on the inside. Hubbards are also great if you want to enjoy squash throughout the winter. They can last for up to six months if stored correctly.
These are just three of the many different varieties of squash that are available at most grocery stores. If you live near a farmer's market, check there as well! They often times have tons of produce available around the fall season, and you know that it's as fresh as it can be. For a bigger list of squash varieties and what to do with them, check out this website. For a list of different squash recipes, check here. All of them look amazingly tasty!
What's your favorite squash?