Squash-ology (A way to prepare each type of squash)
We may think we know the squash, but in western countries it’s an often neglected vegetable when it comes to cooking. To try and remedy this situation, and to entice everyone to use more of it, we’ve prepared a little manual of “Squash 101”.
Squashes are fruit. Did you know that? It’s probably our tendency to cook them like vegetables that makes us think differently. And interestingly enough, according to historians, the squash was one of the first cultivated plants in the world.
There are many squash varieties. The first way to categorize them is whether they are summer or winter squashes. Summer squashes are picked before reaching maturity, and they cannot be stored as long and the winter ones. The zucchini is one example. Winter squashes reach maturity in autumn and can be stored for 1 to 3 months. Their peel isn’t edible and their flesh is sweeter. The pumpkin is an example of a winter squash.
Differences between certain squashes…
This squash is a summer and winter squash and you can recognize it by its round or oval shape and white or cream coloured peel. It’s called a spaghetti squash because once cooked its flesh becomes string-like. The best way to cook it is in the oven, making a few incisions in the peel.
You can recognize this squash by its pear shape and creamy, slightly orange coloured, peel. It is at its best when between about 20 and 30 cm in length. The flesh of the butternut is very orange in colour, and sort of sweet. It is a winter squash.
This one looks like a large ribbed acorn; hence the name. Its peel is dark green with a hint of orange. The flesh is orangy-yellow and has a nutty, almond flavoured after taste.
There are many other types of squash out there; you just have to try to cook them to like them!