Monday, September 17, 2012

Delve Into the Autumn Harvest: Kuri Squash

by Maria Noël Groves, Clinical Herbalist & Co-op Wellness Educator

Kuri Squash Ready for the Oven!
As soon as I saw them, I knew my fall game was on: Winter Squash. And not just the usual acorns and butternuts, but the fresh harvest of lesser-known local favorites like kuri and delicata. Salads, I'm done with you. It's time to turn up the oven.

Last year I fell in love with red kuri squash - a deep orange, pumpkin-like winter squash - because it is perfect in nearly every way. Simply cut it open, scoop out the seeds, and roast it at 420 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the flesh is fork-tender. This roasted squash is better than pumpkin for pie and suprpasses butternut as a Thanksgiving side. Sweet or savory, it compliments every dish and has a buttery, rich, and vivid in flavor, texture, and color. And it's *loaded* with antioxidant carotenoids, which help support your immune system, eyes, and dry skin (just what we need with dry, cold weather coming on!).

Fall Squash Decor
Here are just a few of my favorite ways to serve the roasted squash:
- Perfectly plain as a side dish - it's that good
- Piping hot with a dab of butter, drizzle of maple syrup, and sprinkle of cinnamon (as a side or for dessert)
- As a filling for "pumpkin" pie
- Added to chili to provide sweetness, heft, and added nutrition
- Pureed with coconut milk and simmered with lemongrass for a Thai-inspired soup
- fry some snipped, fresh sage leaves in butter, then make an egg scramble with a local egg, scoop of leftover squash, and chunks of cheddar
- use it to make "pumpkin" bread

Roasting Fall Faves: Brussels, Squash & Kale
In my other life as an editor, I know that nothing is ever perfect, and there are pros and cons to everything. As such, kuri squash won't hold up to baked-stuffed dishes (the skin gets too soft when roasted), doesn't peel easily, and unfortunately the seeds are relatively unpalatable when toasted. Delicata squash, on the other hand, are wonderful for all of these things and have a delicious, almost corn-like flavor when diced into chunks and roasted. (Delicatas are the long, narrow white-green-yellow striped squash.) Even better - cooked delicata squash skin is edible. No scooping or peeling needed!

Enjoy these squash while you can - they often sell out by late fall and do not keep as well as the old standby, butternut.

Stay tuned for more fall faves...

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm, I love delicata squash! I've never had a kuri, but your description and directions make it something I'll look for now. And I really appreciate your "cons", they're very helpful. Thanks!