It's Winter People, Let's talk hard Squash
I love hard squashes for their shelf life, even though we always have fresh food available at the local market. It's seriously really cool that we are blessed with fresh veg that can last many months after picking. Never having done the research on how to properly store hard squashes for the season, I decided to learn. After harvest, one should wash the squash in a bath of warm water and chlorine to clean away debris. 2 tbsp bleach to 1 gallon water. Okay, here's the numbers, Acorn and Spaghetti Squash both store in cool dark areas for about 2 1/2 months. Delicata a little longer at 3 months, Kabocha's at 4-6 mo depending on type, and Butternut at a whopping 6 months. There are more but those are the main ones I will focus on. Go ahead, try it at home, find out for yourself. In the meantime, here are some recipes that are a little more unusual.
First up, my favorite squash...Spaghetti Squash. I was not exposed to Spaghetti Squash growing up, so when i tried it at the age of 32 (super late) I fell in love. It became my favorite new easy and healthy side dish to go alongside anything. Take the simple route and halve the squash, clean it out, butter or oil the top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for approximately 45 mins at 375. There should be a few crispy spots when done and it should pull away into strands easily with a fork. Just add a tiny bit more butter if warranted, scrape out the strands onto plates and serve. It's that simple!
In case you have been there and done that....here's a dessert recipe for a Cinnamon Spice Spaghetti Squash Cake. Let's try something that's not for the dinner plate, but after! I have made many zucchini breads over the years, so let's see how this compares. Oh one quick note on this recipe. If you don't happen to have Spelt Flour in the pantry don't worry this recipe will work great for all substitutions. I will make with a white rice flour to remain gluten free, but be sure to choose one that does not contain xantham gum. You can also use regular gluten flour and it will be just fine.
Okay, next up Butternut Squash. I believe this to be a favorite by many and it can be simply addicting roasted with some brown sugar. I wanted to take this somewhere different. So there are many yummy butternut chilis, and tarts, but when I saw the tacos I thought, wow! I have not even heard of squash tacos, let alone yummy ones with beans and avocado. You don't need it, but my husband will want it to be more filling, so I may add some meat to this recipe. I am thinking shredded pork roast. We shall see....
Okay we are bbqing and I lied. We had some fresh strip steaks so those will be the accompaniment. They were fantastic! The kids even ate it up, the squash made the house smell wonderful, and the bbq steak we cut up into small pieces to easily throw into the tacos. I still think pork would be great though. Give it a shot! Either way here is the recipe.
Acorn squash is surprisingly good, halved, cleaned out, roasted in tbsp of maple syrup and butter. I found I had to add additional maple syrup to dip. Reviews for this simple recipe are pretty high. I am going to try stuffing the acorn squash with rice and sausage and vegetables. The Acorn squash does better as a savory dish. Serve some roasted delicata alongside and you have a super healthy and tasty meal.
Last, and maybe the tastiest Kabocha. After searching for a yummy recipe and something I have not made before, I settled on Kabocha Croquettes. I found an amazing recipe on JustOneCookBook.com, the chef is an at-home chef who looks to specialize in modern japanese cuisine. I love Japanese food so it piqued my interest. Here is her recipe, with adaptations from my own kitchen, seeing as I don't have a deep fryer. I am also going to make this egg free for allergies here at home. You can find the original recipe at the website listed. Enjoy!
Hard squash are very versatile. You can eat them right away, or months from now, it can be a dessert or a savory dish, you decide. I get bored and most of the time will try to find something I haven't cooked before. Hard shell squashes are perfect for mixing it up.
Have fun, experiment!