Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Real Winter Squash: Blue Hubbard

Blue Hubbard Squash in pieces
 Our first Winter CSA pick up included potatoes, radishes, collards, carrots, fennel, bok choy, leeks, cilantro, and what I had been waiting nearly a year for... a Blue Hubbard squash. I forgot to photograph it whole, so here it is on the left, split in two and another slice taken from the top. These amazingly ugly squashes are unbelievably tasty. Last year I used them for pie and equally delicious soup. In Germany in the winter we would have lots of kerbis (meaning gourd) soups and other dishes through the Fall. Kerbis oil and seeds are used as condiments. The one thing you'll never see is kerbis pie. Funny. They just don't eat the same type of desserts as we do.

Roast until soft in oven

What they are missing !

You cook Blue Hubbard like Butternut or other winter squashes. Cut them in chunks, scrape out the seeds, and roast the pieces in the oven at 350F for 45 minutes or so. They'll be totally soft and you scrape the skin off to mash the remains. 

Puree and add ingredients
 Once you have something like this, it can be pureed with spices, cream, and eggs for pie. Or changed into some other savory dish.

Did you know that most commercial pumpkin for pumpkin pie - the kind you buy in a can - is butternut squash? It's interesting to me that you'll find quite a lot of people who say they don't like squash, or particularly butternut squash, but will eat it as pie.  Of course, the sugar and cream probably influences that.

wonderful Blue Hubbard Squash pie
 But Butternut squash soup tastes nothing quite like Blue Hubbard. I'm hoping for at least one more squash this season.

Which isn't to say that Butternut isn't great for soups. I have two wonderful recipes for it. One combines the squash with ginger for a smooth soup that balances those wonderful flavors. The other keeps chunks of squash in with pork, creating a chunky Fall stew for a tasty pairing.

One Blue Hubbard is enough for two deep dish pies and several small ramekins. Looks good, eh?

Dried squash seeds
My great find this year is dried seeds. Of course, I'm constantly looking for ways to use my new dehydrator. I dried apples and raw almonds in the last few weeks. The almonds are soaked overnight and then dried for 24 hours. This keeps them a bloated, crispy feel that's hard to describe and absolutely addictive.

I figured the seeds might well work the same. I soaked them for about 6 hours, dried for about 12 hours. I sprinkled on some cinnamon at the start, too. The result were puffy seeds with a paper-like outer coating that was similar to rice paper in consistency.

The kernel is a green yummy morsel
The outer white part is fibrous and a bit chewy, but the seed on the inside has a wonderful delicate taste of pumpkin.

In Germany I would buy raw kerbis seeds for my yogurt. These were dark green seeds, and I could never quite make out really where they came from. I've never seen a green squash seed. But taste testing our new dried seeds, my son and I realized there was a separate kernel inside the white coating which was giving the fabulous flavor. Sure enough, with some effort you can pull off the white coating to reveal a green seed. It's a bit difficult, and you can see my finger nail marks on the green seed here, but hey, you get the idea. I do wonder how they strip off the outer coating commercially now. Hmm....

No comments:

Post a Comment