The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend
On Halloween, the most pumpkin-spiced of all autumn days, it only seems fitting to devote a little attention to the culinary uses of relatives of the great gourd. This time of year you’ll see countless recipes for butternut squash and for pumpkin (often canned), but I’m here to tell you that you can confidently chalk that up to recipe writers trying to keep things consistent for the largest audience possible, not the arbitrary idea that these two are the only winter squash worth eating. At the market this weekend look for some of the following special squash. At the very least you’ll be able to find a use for them more noble than lighting your stoop tonight or littering your block tomorrow morning.
Sugar Dumpling Squash– Easily confused with speckled Carnival Acorn squash, Dumpling squash are starchier than their doppelgängers and some folks think they have a flavor reminiscent of corn. Z Food Farm will have them at Rittenhouse and Landisdale Farm will have them at Chestnut Hill and Clark Park.
Blue Hubbard – The grand dame of the squash world, Blue Hubbards are not to be trifled with. They’re enormous, first of all, with a warty, thick, grey blue skin. Tangle with one though, for which you might actually need a hacksaw, and you’ll be rewarded with surprisingly sweet, velvety, golden yellow flesh. Because of their size, these big ‘uns don’t always make it to market, but ask around and you’ll find one.
Blue Hokkaido – Very similar in flavor to Kabocha, and a relative of big mama Blue Hubbards, hokkaidos are more manageable in size (think loaf of bread instead of basketball) with flesh that is even more orange and chestnut-like. Queen’s Farm has them at Headhouse (where they’ll even cut you a wedge if you don’t want the whole thing), and Weimer’s Organics has them at Bryn Mawr.
Red Kuri Squash – Also a Hubbard relative, Red Kuri are far more diminutive, even delicate. Often teardrop-shaped with sunny orange or blue-green skin, they have dense orange flesh and a subtle, nutty sweetness. Relatively thin-walled for their round shape, they’re great for stuffing! Look for them on the table at Savoie Organic Farm at Headhouse.
Pink Banana – Another gentle giant, you may have seen Tom Culton’s Pink Bananas if you’ve been to Headhouse in the past few weeks. Long, cylindrical, and pink, these bad boys can weigh up to 40 pounds, but they have a remarkably thin skin and their shape makes them as easy to peel and break down as a standard butternut.
Spaghetti Squash – Always the smooth, yellow outliers amidst all the oranges and greens, spaghetti squash are beloved for their stringy, fibrous flesh that, when roasted and shredded has a texture like spaghetti, if spaghetti were made of squash and not delicious wheat gluten. Look for them at Hilltop Farm and Rambling Roots Farm at Rittenhouse, and from Landisdale at Chestnut Hill.
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