Carnival of Colour21/07/2012 14:50
Big, bold and beautiful, winter squashes are now at their best!
They come in shapes round, scalloped and pear-shaped, and in a array of colours, with flesh that ranges from golden-yellow to brilliant orange. Pumpkins and squashes make vibrant additions to any garden. Beautiful!
Pumpkins and squashes are members of the gourd family. Squashes come in summer or winter varieties. The summer ones are young and tender, while the winter ones are left to mature until the flesh becomes denser and the skins toughen. Many are availble all year round, but you can't beat produce that is at its seasonal best!
There are countless different varieties of pumpkins and winter squash.
To name but a few..
Pumpkin ~ Bright orange skin and matching flesh, has a mild, slightly sweet flavour. The can grow up tp 25kg! The larger pumpkins are not always the tastiest though, its the smaller ones which have the more sweetest and concentrated flavour.
"Pumpkins, pumpkins plump and ready to eat, cut of their heads and scoop out their seeds and make them into tasty treats!"
Carve a jack-o'-lantern pumpkin and let it glow!
Use a serrated knife to cut a circle in the top for a lid, angling the knife so the lid won't fall through. Scoop out the pulp and seeds (remember save your seeds to roast for a tasty snack.) With a marker pen draw a face on the pumpkin. Use a small serrated knife to cut out the eyes, nose & mouth. Rub the cut edges with vegeatble oil to keep fresher for longer. Pop a tea light inside the pumpkin, light it and replace the lid, then watch it glow!
Fairy Tale ~An old time pumpkin from France. It is deeply ribbed and has a very smooth hard surface. It has a thick deep orange flesh which is delicious baked. The distinctive coach-like shape and warm russet colour make it perfect for fall decorating too.
Cinderella ~ Are a unique French heirloom whose correct name is "Rouge vif D'Etampes". This centuries-old French heirloom pumpkin looks just like the coach in the fairy tale Cinderella. There is something magical about them! Beautiful deep burnt red orange skin and distinctive ribbing. Cinderellas make a delightful decorative for the fall season, but additionally their flavour is good for any pie or winter squash recipe.
Butternut ~ Like its name suggests, the flesh has a sweet, buttery flavour that is enhanced by roasting, goes very well with warming winter spices and seasonings. Delicious used in many recipes from stews, gratins, pasta dishes, risottos, soups and curries, also wonderful halved and baked with their skins on.
Onion ~ Gets their name from its shape. Onion squash are particularly flavourful, lovely roasted to bring out their nutty flavour.
Acorn ~ Which has a green skin and is a acorn shape, these have a sweet firm yellow flesh, and are ideal for stuffing with couscous or some spicy rice.
Harlequin ~ A smallish, pumpkin-shaped squash with deep ridges, and a speckled orange-green skin. Its flesh is firm and pale orange, and it has a mild, sweet flavour, similar to butternut squash.
Turban Squash ~ Sometimes called 'Turk's squash' it is certainly an unusual looking vegetable! It is named for its shape. (looks like a brightly coloured turban! ) Turban Squash has colours that vary from bright orange, to green or white. It has golden-yellow flesh. Its usually grown for its unusual appearence and people often don't eat it, using it as a harvest festival decoration, instead! Its popular for centerpieces, and its top can be sliced off so it can be hollowed and filled with a thick Autumn soup. This squash has a wonderful flavour and is great stuffed and baked.
Kabocha ~ Not pretty to look at with its dull green, bumpy skin, but more than makes up for looks with flavour! Tender, fragrant and sweet!
Hooligan ~ I'm loving these baby hooligans, although they don't look like hooligans to me, just sweet little pumpkins! They are a light gold in colour with dark orange speckling between the ribs. They make great little individual soup serving bowls.