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This won’t be the last time we get to sing the praises of win­ter squash this sea­son.

New on the scene, are the very curi­ous and cool vari­eties that we don’t see through­out the course of the year.

Red kuri squash, which also goes by the name orange Hokkaido pump­kin, has smooth flesh and a rich, sweet fla­vor that shines through in pies, soups, and side dishes.

A recent work­place recipe chal­lenge high­lighted a num­ber of hard squashes. From savory soups, stews and chilies to spicy squash salad with lentils and then on to a mix of sweet squash desserts, ver­sa­til­ity burned brightly.

Red Kuri squash seemed to pose the most threat to prospec­tive cooks, chefs and bak­ers. Not know­ing what this cute lit­tle tear-​drop shaped pump­kin tastes like was the first hur­dle. How to pre­pare it was the next obstacle.

It’s shape is sim­i­lar to a hub­bard squash, but it’s much more man­age­able in size. Its skin is hard but thin, and is edi­ble once cooked. Red Kuri has a creamy yellow-​orange flesh, with a smooth tex­ture. The sub­tle fla­vor and taste is sim­i­lar to cooked chest­nuts. The Japan­ese word for chest­nut is actu­ally “kuri”.
Like many hard squashes, Red Kuri are dif­fi­cult to peel. They are almost always cooked with their skin on. Cook them whole or halved, or sliced into wedges or cubes.

If cook­ing a whole squash, pierce the skin in sev­eral places to allow steam to escape. After cook­ing, the skin soft­ens and becomes edi­ble.

The seeds are per­fectly edi­ble, too. Scoop them out, rinse and roast them just as we would treat reg­u­lar pump­kin seeds.

Smooth and sweet, Red Kuri squash pairs well with creamy ingre­di­ents like coconut milk. Hard squash in gen­eral, also go well with herbs, beans, curry, and any num­ber of spices.

Casseroles, soups, cur­ries, and baked goods like pies, breads and muffins make for excel­lent appli­ca­tions. Red kuri squash is a great sub­sti­tute for acorn squash or other squash vari­eties that don’t require peel­ing before cook­ing.

Warm and com­fort­ing, Kuri Curry Coconut Soup, was just one of many great recipe choices that impressed a crowd of enthu­si­as­tic co-​workers.

Fear­less in the kitchen requires tak­ing a risk some­times. Try a new squash this sea­son. Thrill fam­ily and friends with a not so ordi­nary pick.

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