• Here’s What’s in Sea­son for Summer!


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Kabocha, pro­nounced “kah-​BOH-​chah”, is a win­ter squash encased in a dull, deep green, hard, mot­tled skin that is often­times lined with pale, uneven stripes.

There are also some orange skinned cul­ti­vars, though the green is the most com­monly pro­duced. This time of year, they begin to appear on autumn tablescapes and in earthy fall menu items.

The skin is tech­ni­cally edi­ble if cooked, though most com­monly, it is dis­carded. Round and squat, with a flat­tened top, it ranges from one to eight pounds. Gen­er­ally, aver­age weight is two to three pounds.

Inside is a deep yel­low orange flesh sur­round­ing a small seed cav­ity. Cooked, Kabocha offers a finely grained, dry flesh with a but­tery and ten­der tex­ture. Rather sweet, the rich fla­vor resem­bles a com­bi­na­tion of sweet potato mixed with pump­kin.

In Japan, Kabocha squash was tra­di­tion­ally eaten around the time of the win­ter sol­stice with shiruko (adzuki beans) in a sweet soup to boost the immune sys­tem and help pre­vent colds dur­ing the win­ter months.

The Kabocha we know around the world is also known in Japan as “kuri kabocha” or “nutty pump­kin”. This pump­kin fla­vor pro­file is also referred to as “haku haku”.

The hard shell of Kabocha squash can be a chal­lenge for some to cut prior to cook­ing. For a bit of a head start, it can first be microwaved for a few min­utes to soften, then cut.

Try it roasted, steamed, pan-​fried, deep-​fried, baked and braised. Since Kabocha tends to hold it’s shape when cooked, it can be cubed and then added to gratins, risot­tos, soups, stews, cur­ries and pas­tas.

Tem­pura style, pop­u­lar in Japan, is bat­tered and fried. It can also be roasted on its own or com­bined with other root veg­eta­bles. When cooked and pureed it is used as an ingre­di­ent to make breads, cro­quets, cakes, sauces and soups.

Hard squashes lend them­selves eas­ily to other part­ners. Pair Kabocha or other win­ter squash with pears, apples, lemon, kale, spinach, egg­plant, gar­lic, sage, pars­ley, shal­lots and cilantro.

Com­pli­men­tary pantry item include: nut­meg, clove, curry spice, honey, brown sugar, coconut milk, but­ter, cream, Ital­ian sausage and parme­san cheese. It’s like have a license to play in the kitchen.

The true sea­son for Cal­i­for­nia grown Kabocha, is late sum­mer to early fall. It keeps for sev­eral weeks in a cool, dry area. Key to choos­ing right are color and weight. Pick rich, deep green with golden speck­les for ripeness. It should feel heav­ier than expected when lifted.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.


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