Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Loving Winter Squash

My family has discovered the greatness of winter squash. Even my three-year-old likes it!

I have never eaten a winter squash at my parents' house. Until I started experimenting with it last fall, I would have said it tasted bland (based upon little or no experience actually eating winter squash). Last year I bought a booklet on cooking squash because I wanted to support the Moultrie County Historical and Genealogical Society's historical one-room-school project at The Great Pumpkin Patch. Then, I bought some squash so that I could use the recipes. In the end, I wasn't entirely satisfied with the recipes in the booklet, so I searched the Web for more. Toward the end of my squash supply, I found two that my family really likes. This year, we started our squash season earlier, and I have made each of our favorites twice in the past two weeks.

The first is Acorn Squash with Apple Stuffing. Since I don't have the notes for the source, it is probably from either the Historical Society's book or a booklet from Whole Foods Market. My great discovery this year is that I can make it in the microwave, which means I don't have to think about it an hour or more ahead of time:

  • 2 med acorn squash
  • 2 med apples, chopped (macintosh or red delicious)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1//2 cup raisins
  • 5 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
Slice squash in half, discard seeds, & place face down in a baking dish. In an oven, bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees; in a microwave, bake on high about 7 minutes (depends on the squash size and power of your microwave).

Combine apples, nuts, raisins, and brown sugar in a bowl and mix well. Spoon into squash. Drizzle with melted butter. In an oven, bake 25-30 more minutes at 350 to taste; in a microwave, back on high 2-3 minutes more.

The mix of apple and squash flavors is just great!

Our other favorite is Delicata Squash with Rosemary, Sage, and Cider Glaze. Peeling squash takes a bit of time and muscle, but this dish is worth it. One day I'm going to try the advice of baking the squash whole for a little while before trying to peel it.

On Saturday morning I picked up a supply of squash from The Great Pumpkin Patch as an exchange for the squash in my plot at the Sullivan Victory Garden. We served as an isolation plot for the heirloom squash that the GPP's Mac Condill grows for seed. There are several different species of squash (the correct term is curcurbit), and seeds of different varieties within the same species will cross and produce un-true seed if planted too close to each other. So, our plot hosted several types of squash from different species. Mac kindly offered to trade more common types of squash for the squash that he wanted to keep for seed, and today I took him up on his offer. (Thanks, Mac!)

If you want to get local squash in the Sullivan area, you can find it at The Great Pumpkin Patch through October 31 or at Buxton's Garden Farm into November, while supplies last.

Happy Eating!

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