I have to admit that I have not been as excited to go to the farmer’s market with the end of summer here.
It’s November, and even though it is 70 degrees out, it is still autumn, and the we have less light and less to harvest.
But, not so fast, I went to the market, and I still got inspired, I still got excited and it was because of the beautiful variety of winter squash that I saw there.
I wouldn’t call winter squash my favorite vegetable, but I am determined to change that this year. They look too good to not have a permanent spot in the kitchen.
Here are a few of the varieties I recommend:
The most popular squash these days, thanks to every restaurant serving a pureed soup of it. Who can blame them? Butternut squash makes a great soup. And it can take on a lot of different flavors. You can go in a more traditional pumpkin soup way, with cinammon and ginger spices, you can add carrots and extra onions, or chestnuts which give the soup an incredible nutty depth and richness you wouldn’t believe.
Just an all around easy does it squash. I think of it as pumpkin meets butternut.
You can’t miss this one. Acorn shaped, with green skin and yellow-orange flesh. Roast it in the oven and drizzle with butter.
This is one of the smaller winter squashes, usually pale white or yellow and oblong in shape. Definitely one of the easier to work with squashes, you can peel this and cut it up. Once you have big chunks you can roast it either alone or with other veggies, in a hot oven with olive oil, until the pieces start to caramalize. Serve on their own or mix into a grain salad. I love roasted delicata squash mixed with coucous or quinoa.
One of the more famous squashes, for the fun spaghetti-like strands that it creates.
Too easy. Bake in the oven and remove the strands with a fork. Toss with butter and cheese for a delicious dish.
Of course, a big bonus of getting these squashes are the wonderful and healthy seeds that come inside.
Clean them out, wash them off, let them dry, toss with salt and then roast them in the oven at 325 for 20-30 minutes.
Growing squash: You can grow squash in San Francisco, if you have the room. These vines are large and spread rapidly, which they must, to hold the over 10 pounds that many squash become. Squash can take over 100 days to grow, so you need to plant your seeds late in spring or early in the summer for a fall harvest. Even though they take a long time to grow, if you have the room, it may be well worth it, as they also store longer than most vegetables, so you can enjoy them throughout winter.