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Weird & wonderful Winter Squash

Weird & wonderful Winter Squash

It’s that time of year when your local greengrocers and the supermarkets are filled with an abundance of squash, each one unique in size, colour and shape. There’s so much choice and it’s difficult to know which squash is the right squash, some of them do look pretty other-worldly!

We’ve been doing a little bit of research into the wonderful world of squash and let us tell you, you can’t really go wrong! Here’s what we found out…

What is the difference between Summer squash and Winter squash?

Well, for one, yellow and green courgettes are a type of squash (we know, right?!) and these are best eaten when the skin is tender. You’ll find these are best during the warmer months and add a lovely taste and texture to Summer meals, like our fab courgette curry.

Winter squash such as butternut, acorn and pumpkin are picked when they are mature and boast a nice, thick rind. You can keep some Winter squash for weeks (even months) when stored correctly, in a cool, dark place. We’d suggest leaving a towel under them, just in case they do turn unexpectedly and begin to leak, bleurgh!

Now, let’s squash down the details…

Types of Winter squash

Crown Prince

A firm favourite amongst our team, this squash resembles a pumpkin but with the odd appearance of blue/grey skin - almost like a zombified pumpkin, which is quite fitting given the season!

Don’t be put off by its strange appearance, the Crown Prince bears a deep gold flesh which is exceptionally nutty and is great for roasting or mashing.

Lee is a big fan of the Crown Prince squash, if you’ve been to any of our Autumnal cooking demonstrations you’ll have definitely heard him profess his love for them.

Lee’s Crown Prince top tips:

  • Roasted before adding to a tangy Sambhar

  • Roasted in wedges and dipped in a mix of Pul Biber, mango powder and salt - basically savoury sherbet! This makes for a “totally amazing TV snack, boom!” - Lee.
  • Create a sticky, sweet and sour chutney with our Squash Chutney recipe

Pumpkins

Not just for carving, these bad boys are pretty versatile if you pick up a good one! Varieties include green, white yellow and orange pumpkins.

Generally, the pumpkins that you will find in supermarkets in the UK at this time of year will be for carving as they are grown for their size, not their flavour. That being said, they are still completely edible, so whilst you’re carving up your spooky pumpkins this year, put any off cuts to one side and add them to a delicious Autumnal stew or a curry to help bulk it out.

The manager of our Fenwick store, Chen recommends making a green pumpkin risotto:

  1. Remove the skin and seeds from the pumpkin and roast with chilli oil, paprika, turmeric and seasoning.

  2. Fry an onion, half of a yellow pepper, a few mushrooms and loads of garlic.

  3. Add some white wine along with risotto rice and stock. Once the pumpkin is nicely charred/golden, mix it into the risotto.

  4. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, parmesan, lemon juice. Ta-da!

Chen promises that this is as good as it sounds; we’re salivating!

Acorn squash

This little fella is pretty cute, honestly, you should Google image search one! Renowned for its dark green rind and sweet orangey yellow flesh, this smaller squash is perfect for mashing or even stuffing for a great centrepiece on the dinner table.

Down in our Sudbury store, Sharon makes creamy, spicy soups with Winter squash. Adding a dash of turmeric and cumin really plays on the sweetness of the Acorn squash making for a rich, warming soup on a cold, Autumn evening.

Coquina/Butternut squash

A classic in the squash world, the trusty old Butternut squash is incredibly versatile: roasted, blended, diced and steamed, you can certainly squash it into plenty of meals.

Jo from our Accounts department relishes in cooking and is always sharing her new favourite recipes with us. “We roast the squash with other veg and blitz it in our blender with a tin of tomatoes to make a pasta sauce.”

Jo also suggests leaving the rind on Butternut squash when roasting to add to a curry, the skin goes deliciously crispy and chewy and adds another layer of texture to your dish.

So there you have it, now what's the hold-up? Go grab a squash and get cooking...