With its hard skin, seed-filled cavities, and often unruly size, winter squash can intimidate even the savviest cooks. It’s absolutely worth tackling though—not only is squash inexpensive and packed with vitamins, but it’s also one of the only relics from the garden that can feed you through the winter. Fortunately, even if you don’t get up the courage to wield a large knife against the gargantuan gourds, you can still get your fix with these dishes that require nothing more than a fork and an appetite.
At Camino (above), fennel pollen-rubbed pork tenderloin joins a hash of serrano ham and local apples, roasted delicata squash, and broccoli rabe in a dish that’s a beautiful balance of sweet, savory, and bitter.
It’s roasted kuri squash (which looks like a pumpkin without ridges), chèvre, and sage that go into the flaky empanadas at MAS Tapas, where a dollop of cream and a drizzle of chestnut honey finish the dish.
After reading the description of Feast!’s (2) fall salad—roasted butternut squash, sliced local apples, aged gouda, spicy pecans, crispy bacon, arugula, and a sherry vinaigrette—you’d be crazy not to order it.
Get a megadose of Vitamin A at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar with the ginger-laced harvest pumpkin soup that will keep you happy and healthy.
Butternut squash ends the meal at Duner’s (3), where it becomes a silky, spiced pot de crème with buttery pecan shortbread cookies on the side.
With more than 100 varieties, squash comes in every color and every shape. All considered fruits from the genus Cucurbita, they’re divided into three different species:
C. maxima: Winter squash with round, thick stems that include blue banana, hubbard, red kuri, and turban. Can be eaten through the winter when stored in a cool, dark place.
C. moschata: Winter squash with round stems that include butternut and musky winter squash. Can be eaten through the winter when stored in a cool, dark place.
C. pepo: Summer squash with pentagonal, prickly stems that include zucchini, crookneck, spaghetti squash, delicata, acorn, and most pumpkins. Should be eaten soon after harvest.
The case of the great missing pumpkin lattes
Starbucks began hyping its beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte as early as Labor Day and was, a month later, already experiencing shortages across the country. It has nothing to do with the great pumpkin shortage of 2011 though (there’s no actual pumpkin in the syrup), but rather a supply chain glitch. Now it seems that the distribution channels have all been restocked. Pumpkin latte crisis averted.
The ways that competitive pumpkin farmers pamper their orbs (grow lights, warming blankets, manure, maple leaf, and molasses-rich compost, etc.) means that they can gain up to 50 pounds in one day. And with a $25,000 prize at stake in California, the race is on to be the first to break the one ton barrier.