2017-11-16 / From The Garden

Sweet Squash: Fall’s Technicolor Bounty

By Cynthia Gibson

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many people are preparing lists for their holiday feast. What is Thanksgiving without squash?

Squash can take the form of a pie, tarts, a side-dish or a vegetarian entree. The last of the squash are now being harvested.

The vegetable is abundant in different varieties. Remember the days when squash either meant a green acorn or a buff-colored butternut? Today we have ‘Day-Glo’ orange squashes, squashes that are spotted, long, short or squat and some referred to as dumplings.

Colors on the Thanksgiving table tend to be more earth tones, which show the magnificence of fall, so adding the squash, with its range of colors, shapes and sizes, makes for a lovely centerpiece.

While at the supermarket the other day, I discovered a Day-Glo orange acorn squash. I couldn’t resist buying it just for its bright color. After baking it, I was surprised at its sweet taste after adding a little butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It’s amazing that the green acorn squash still exists, but the closer we get to Thanksgiving you will see more varieties, including speckled and white ones.

The buttercup squash is also flavorful. Because of its tough, thick skin, you will need a large knife to cut it in half. But it does not have many seeds. What’s different is that it lacks a crooked neck or bumps, but looks just like a curling stone.

Dumpling squashes that come in many fall colors are not only cute, but have the sweetness of a small dumpling. One is so tempted to only use them for decoration that it is easy to forget they are delicious.

Depending upon how you like to bake your squash, all of the above-mentioned squashes are great to eat as either a sweet or savory dish. The density of the flesh means they will not collapse when baked. Their flesh has less water than pumpkin varieties of squash. Acorn and buttercup squashes make an excellent pie.

Best of all, you can grow every one of these squashes in your backyard. They are best grown in the ground, since they are vegetables on vines. They will not do well in pots.

The easiest way to perk up any baked squash is by adding a large dollop of butter, brown sugar and a dash of ground cinnamon. Line a cookie sheet with foil, placing the squash face up filled with these ingredients, then bake them at 375 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes to produce a perfectly sweet squash.

Baked Acorn Squash

Serves 6

Slice in half and remove seeds from three acorn squashes, one of each color. Slice into half-inch pieces.

9 tbsp. butter, melted
1½ almond flour
3 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely
3 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves,
finely chopped
2 tsp. garlic powder; onion
powder can be substituted
1½ tsp. salt
Ground fresh pepper

Preheat oven to 375F

In a large mixing bowl, toss the squash in melted butter. In a separate bowl mix the flour, with herbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Add the flour mixture into the buttered squash and thoroughly coat the squash with the flour mixture.

Place the squash on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and place in the oven for 40-60 minutes or until you can easily put a fork into the squash.

Remove from the oven and let the squash rest for a few minutes, place on a large platter and serve while hot.

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