FromÂ Namita Koppa. Email her at namita[AT]borderstan.com.
Weird shapes, strange sizes, seeds, stringy innardsâ€¦itâ€™s a jungle out there.
Gourds. For some of us, itâ€™s a comforting time of year for biceps and bellies. Lugging these fall fruits from the market to home can easily bring us a fraction closer to Michelle Obamaâ€™s amazing upper body musculature, crockpot chilis, jack-o-lanterns and pies.
For others, looking at the oddities is downright confusing. How do I choose a squash? What does it taste like? Can they all be used in pumpkin pie?
Unfortunately, not all gourds are created equal. Hereâ€™s the skinny on some popular, nutritious, delicious gourds:
- Bottom-heavy hourglass shape with a cream-to-tan peel and orange flesh
- Thick flesh, few seeds, easy to peel with a sharp knife
- Sweetest of all the winter squashes
- Easy to roast, purĂ©e, mash or sautĂ©
- Round shape, dark green skin
- Tender, yellow-orange flesh
- Very easy to roast, steam, bake, sautĂ©, mash or stuff
- Oblong shape, pale, yellowish skin
- Flesh composed of strands of squash, which can be used as a replacement for pasta
- Mildly flavored
- Easy to steam and serve with sauce of choice
- Large, roundish shape, dark green skin with white and yellow spots
- Flesh is sweet, soft, and delicious
- Peel is very tough and difficult to cut, so I recommended cutting the squash into slices and leaving the peel on during the cooking process
- Excellent for roasting and baking; included in South Asian and Asian curries and soups
- For you Thai X-ing fans, this is the squash that is used in their famous pumpkin curry
Cinderella (with a little help from Fairy Godmother, of course)
- Actually a family of heirloom pumpkins, including the cheese, Rouge Vif dâ€™Etampes, Red Kuri and others
- Sweet, sweet, sweetâ€¦these are made for pumpkin pie
- Very versatile â€“ roast, boil, mash, purĂ©e and serve with sweet or savory seasonings
Of course, there are countless types of pumpkins and winter squashes out there in the world, so donâ€™t be afraid to explore Borderstanâ€™s offerings. My personal favorite is the beautiful Blue Hubbard squash, which often is shaped like a famous movie characterâ€™s head. Come across this beauty, you may.