Fall, the season for root vegetables and squash. It’s not pretty stuff to look at sometimes. All… root-y and dirt coated. Or in the case of squash, all bulbous and, I don’t even know. Even for all their aesthetic flaws, root vegetables and squash are some of my favorite underdog farmers market buys.
When everyone starts lamenting the end of tomato season I just set my sights on the likes of spaghetti squash and parsnips. So let’s take a look at some of what you’ll be finding out there this weekend and what’s worth a shot.
There are only two weekends left of the 14th & U St. farmers market! Make your visits count!
In the squash set you have spaghetti squash, acorn squash, the ever popular butternut squash, which is not to be confused with buttercup squash, autumn squash and of course pumpkins. It should be noted that not all pumpkins are created equal so check with your farmer before you buy one for that soup or pie you want to make.
Some pumpkins are decorative in nature only, their flesh far too firm, flavorless or even bitter for the likes of cooking. But in the case of all these other squashes, don’t let them stump you.
Easy Baked Squash
The easiest prep for a squash is:
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
- Cut the squash in half.
- Lather down each side with olive oil, ample amounts of salt and pepper. Or for a sweeter treatment a dash of salt, white sugar and maybe even some brown sugar if you have it on hand.
- Place each squash half cut side down on the parchment paper.
- Bake the squash for anywhere from 30-50 minutes depending on how big and dense it is. Check on it every five minutes or so starting at 30 minutes and poke it with a fork to see how tender it is.
- Take it out of the oven once it’s done, flip it over so it’s cut side up, let cool for a few minutes. Dig right in with a fork if you’re feeling lazy or slice and serve on a plate if you’re feeling fancy!
I should note that this weekend is the last weekend to order a happy, gobbling farm turkey from Eco-Friendly foods at the Dupont Farmers market and you’ll want to get on that order from Truck Patch at 14th & U St.
Root vegetables at the markets include sunchokes, beets, parsnips, turnips, celery roots (also called celeriac), carrots, sweet potatos, radishes and more. The name of the game for these bad boys is roasting, braising, pureeing and mashing. If you’re tired of traditional mashed potatoes or want to mix up the mash on your table, try this mashed root vegetables recipe. I get it, these aren’t attractive items, but man are they tasty!
What will you guys be getting at the markets this weekend? Anyone starting to worry about Thanksgiving? Don’t worry, we have a week of great food coverage coming up so stay tuned!