Our Guide to Gourds

People love to pick up our fresh Indiana produce all
summer long, but what a lot of folks don't realize is that
come September, we have a whole group of delicious winter
squash and pumpkins that can be used in a huge variety of
delectable dishes. We have some recipes down below that show
you how to cook these beautiful curcurbits in entirely new ways
but first, did you know that squashes and gourds are in the same
family as melons? Some, like the Jarrahdale and Blue Hubbard
have a fresh cucumber-like aroma. We all know that Acorn
and Butternut squash are pretty sweet, but we also have
varieties like Cushaw that doesn't have any sugar and really
lends itself to savory dishes. Back in early 1900's New England
Blue Hubbard was the only gourd for making "Pumpkin Pie." So
take a look at the delicious edibles and unique decorative
gourds, then pick out a recipe and see for yourself what a
treasure they are.

Name Flavor Flesh Fun Facts
Acorn Squash aromatic and sweet with a light nuttiness that is enhanced by roasting pale, golden, firm flesh with slight stringiness look for squash with a slight patch of orange which indicates maturity. too much orange means it is overripe unless it is the golden variety
Angel Wing not edible used for decoration these come in a very wide variety of colors and shapes
Apple Gourd not edible used for decoration used to be called African Square, turns a beautiful golden tan when dried
Atlantic Giant edible but not usually used for cooking usually grown for weight records the World Record for an Atlantic Giant is 1,446 pounds
Baby Bear not edible used for decoration these pint sized pumpkins are perfect for little ones
Blue Hubbard has wonderful aroma of fresh cucumber, very little sugar deep orange, firm flesh with very little string variety developed by a Mrs. Hubbard in Marblehead Mass. in 1840
Butternut Squash probably the sweetest of winter squashes with a hearty flavor bright orange, firm flesh with very little string butternut has a thinner shell which is easier to peel than other varieties
Cinderella edible but not usually eaten used mostly for decoration looks like the pumpkin that became Cinderella's Coach
Cushaw mild flavor with little sugar, lends itself well to savory dishes pale orange, firm flesh, thin skin is easy for peeling also comes in a variety striped dark green over light
Festival Squash mild and aromatic, very slight sweetness light orange, firm flesh with some stringiness this variety is also called Carnival or Sweet Dumpling
Golden Acorn similar to Acorn squash similar to Acorn squash serving a meal using half orange and half green Acorn squash makes for a striking presentation
Golden Hubard similar to Blue Hubbard similar to Blue Hubbard Hubbard comes in Blue, Orange and Green varieties
Gooseneck not edible used for decoration also called Swansneck, makes a great shaker when it is dried
Jack be Quick not edible used for decoration also a variety called Jack be Nimble, smaller and more squat than Baby Bear with very pronounced lobes
Jarrahdale Pumpkin soft, melon-like aroma, delicious flesh deep, bright orange, very firm, very little stringiness this variety is from the town of Jarrahdale in New Zealand
Lumina edible but not usually eaten usually used as decoration ranges from pale golden yellow to slightly blue to glowing white
Pie Pumpkin classic, rich pumpkin flavor very dense, full flavored flesh, not watery like larger carving pumpkins these half size pumpkins are the perfect size for a single pie and also make a great holder for pudding, larger than Baby Bear with much thicker stem
Turks Turban mild flavor is adaptable to any recipe, less flesh in this variety than others light orange, firm flesh with very little string, fat seeds are great for roasting this variety is probably the edible most used decoratively

Tips on Cooking

Because of their hard outer shell it is easiest to soften the shell
through baking. Put squash in a 300 oven for 15-20 minutes then let
cool for a few minutes. Cut in half and peel the shell with a sharp knife.
If you would like to use the shell as a bowl or display then bake at 250 for
20-25 minutes and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

The sweetness of some squashes can be used to advantage without adding extra
sugar as is commonly done with brown sugar and acorn squash. The sugars of an
acorn or butternut balance out the acidity of tomatoes very well and make for a
rich tomato sauce in Italian cooking. Use your regular recipe and add 1/2-1 C of
pureed Butternut or Acorn squash and 1/4 C cream. The Butternut Fritters listed below use
garlic and parmesan to balance the sweetness for a very complex and satisfying
flavor. Squash can keep for a few months if kept in a cool (50-55) dry place.

Choose squash that are heavy for their size as this means they have a high
moisture content. If they are lightweight they will be dry and stringy. If
the shell is very shiny it either means the gourd was picked early or the shell
was waxed. Mature squash have a matte finish.

Winter squash are native to North and South America and were cultivated along with
corn and beans by the earliest farmers. They were originally very small and
bitter and used like gourds, for decoration and water storage. Records of
squash seeds have been traced as far back as 9000 BC. They have Vitamins A
and Folate and minerals like Potassium, Magnesium and Phosphorus. They have
almost no fat.


To show how adaptable these winter fruits can be we decided to make
an entire 6 course meal using a different squash for each dish. Click on
any of the pictures below for a recipe. All of the recipes are vegetarian
friendly or if you prefer you can add meat.

Chicken Acorn Soup
served in Turks Turban
Butternut Fritters
served in Cushaw
Asparagus with Festival Squash
served with toatsted almonds
Jarrahdale Mashed Potatoes
served in Jarrahdale Pumpkin
Greek Cushaw Pie
served in Cushaw
Chai Spiced Pumpkin Pie
made with Blue Hubbard Squash

The Apple Works Orchard
County Road 250 West Trafalgar, IN 46181
(317) 878-9317

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