PUMPKINS AND SQUASHES
Our home-grown pumpkins come in a range of shapes and sizes from the tasty little ‘rolet’ that can be baked whole, to the versatile butternut squashes, the smooth orange-fleshed ‘Crown Prince’, the stripey ‘Harlequin’ and the traditional orange Hallowe’en varieties. When choosing a pumpkin, it should have a smooth skin and be firm to the touch. Smaller pumpkins contain more flesh and are best for eating.
Squashes are available in a wide variety of weird and wonderful shapes, sizes and colours from the familiar pumpkin to the more exotic colourful squash. Choose squashes that feel firm and dense, not hollow. The beauty of squashes is that all types, whatever their size or shape, can be used in any recipe in place of another (with the exception of spaghetti squash). Seasonal availability: September to November/December depending on variety. To store: Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month.
With a slightly sweet, buttery flavour and a firm texture this golden-orange fleshed variety is a popular choice. With a pale creamy-brown skin and a similar shape to a rounded pear, butternut squash are
Uses: Suitable for baking, roasting or boiling and mashing. Delicious in soups and risottos. Puréed butternut squash make a delicious baby food.To prepare: Peel, remove the seeds and chop into chunks for boiling and roasting. For baking, leave whole and simply wash and pierce the flesh with a sharp knife. To cook: boil cubed butternut squash for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Roast chunks for 40-50 minutes at 200oC, gas mark 6, or until tender, peel and discard the skin and seeds and cut into chunks to add to dishes.
Gem Squash or Rolet or Harlequin
One of the smallest members of the squash family, gem squashes are about the size of an onion. They are just the right size for stuffing.
Uses: Stuff whole gem squash with chopped vegetables and cooked rice. Or quarter and roast with thyme and serve with pork or slice and grill with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. To prepare: Wash and remove the top and deseed. Leave whole or slice or quarter – gem squash do not need to be peeled. To cook: boil whole prepared squash for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Bake stuffed squash for 1 hour at 200oC, gas mark 6 or until tender. Roast sliced gem squash for 30-40 minutes at 200oC, gas mark 6, drizzled with olive oil and thyme.
Royalty – number one in the squash- fancier’s lexicon and a great keeper. Perfect for roasting and holds its shape in a creamy korma. Moistens cakes, combines with eggs and cream for a sweet pie filling or with cheese for a savoury quiche. Add to potato, peppers, onions, plum tomatoes and garlic for a winder ratatouille, or, for a quick first course: chunk, thread onto skewers with slivers of lemon, trickle with oil, sprinkle with oregano, grill and serve with tzatziki.