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It’s that point of 12 months when the produce part of a grocery retailer has just a few new attention-grabbing characters pop up. Fall and winter squash are oftentimes unrecognizable and a bit otherworldly in form and dimension. It will be intimidating to plop one in your cart, however we’re right here to interrupt down the boundaries and introduce you to 4 squash varieties you don’t find out about, however ought to.

Joe Masabni, an extension vegetable specialist at Texas A&M Agrilife, is an advocate for cooking recipes with unfamiliar, even unique produce.

“I try to cook exotic recipes I’m not familiar with because it teaches me new ways to cook what I’m growing,” Masabni says. “I’d love to say I’m a master chef, but I’m not even close.” 

Plus, he factors out, it’s all the time good to get numerous vitamins from a variety of produce. All squash varieties are full of vitamin c and beta-carotene, which can assist gradual the development of macular degeneration and scale back the prospect of imaginative and prescient loss. Squash can be a wholesome supply of vitamin B6; these poor on this vitamin are at a better threat of despair. 

“I encourage everyone to look up exotic recipes and find out you can get benefits from things you don’t expect,” Masabni says. “For example, did you know the flowers on squash are edible? They’re low in calories and can be used as edible decor for salads and other dishes.”

For reference, one cup of squash blossoms has 5 energy, tons of calcium and a excessive vitamin c depend.

Most squash originates from South and Central America, the place over 800 species flourish. While we’re not going to go over each selection, Masabni provides us the inside track on 4 scrumptious picks you’ll need to strive. 

Kabocha Squash

Also generally known as the Japanese Pumpkin, the kabocha squash is an neglected squash usually mistaken as a inexperienced, unripe pumpkin. Though the surface is tough, darkish inexperienced and knobby, the within has yellow-orange flesh and small seeds. 

Kabocha’s taste is sweeter than butternut squash with a light-weight, fluffy texture. It’s nice for pureeing and mashing to dollop in pies, casseroles, oatmeal, and extra. Out of all of the squash varieties, it peels most simply due to its softer exterior.

“It stores very well and stays very sweet,” Masabni says. “It’s a good size, not too big so when you eat it you can use all of it.”

Despite its identify, the squash originates from Cambodia and was dropped at Japan by Portuguese sailors in 1541. It’s dubbed the Japanese Pumpkin as a result of it’s the most well-liked squash within the nation. 

“This is typical – every country and region seems to prefer a certain type of color or shape of squash and they become known for it,” Masabni says. “Like, where I’m from in Lebanon, we have a light cream zucchini called Kousa we’re known for. 10 years ago, nobody in the U.S. knew about it. I had to ship seeds in. But now, it’s sold everywhere.”

Calabaza Squash

A winter squash usually harvested in the summertime, calabaza squash is native to Central and South America. With a light, nutty taste, the sunshine inexperienced or tan squash is a top quality supply of vitamin A and C. Best used for baking, steaming, grilling and roasting, calabaza will be substituted for acorn squash in all types of recipes; stir fry, empanadas, curries, casseroles, stews, and extra. 

Better but, unwashed calabaza will be stored for as much as two months due to its robust exterior.  

“Calabaza is popular in Central America,” Masabni says. “It stores well in that climate and grows well with minimal input.”

Hubbard Squash

Blue hubbard squashShaped extra like a wierd birthday balloon, Hubbard squash is often misunderstood as ‘too grainy’ in texture. However, it makes good puree and pairs deliciously with butter, brown sugar and salt.

The selection is available in all colours – starting from gentle orange to deep inexperienced. 

“It’s misleading, because even though it’s called Hubbard squash, it’s actually a pumpkin,” Masabni says. “When you open it, it’s hollow, and you need to cook it as such. Squash, for example, you can saute quickly and eat it. But pumpkin you have to steam or stew for a while for it to be ready.”

Banana Squash

This number of squash is big. Banana squash (Cucurbita maxima) can develop 2 to three toes lengthy and might weigh as much as 35 kilos – a whopping bundle of candy, full flavors. It pairs nicely with herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage, and it’s an ideal spotlight to tender pork and lamb.

It will be cooked alone with salt, cinnamon and brown sugar, however makes a novel topping on pizza, risotto and curries. Much just like the Hubbard squash, the Banana squash ought to be cooked like a pumpkin. 

Although the form is the oddest out of the bunch, there is no such thing as a loopy clarification. 

“It’s just genetics,’ Masabni says. “Nature plays a trick on the genes and it grows that way, most of the time, to fit a particular climate.”

Below, we put collectively a few of our favourite squash recipes so that you can strive:

Oyster Mushroom & Kabocha Squash Pasta

Bean-Free Butternut Squash Chili 

Squash-Rice Paella with Mussels & Chorizo

Nut-Crusted Acorn Squash & Halibut in Mustard Spinach Squash