Now that summer is coming to a close, it’s time to enjoy one of the most popular fruits that fall has to offer: squash and gourds. While in cooking squash and gourds are considered vegetables, botanically speaking squash and gourds are fruit.
Summer squashes like zucchini and yellow crookneck are harvested during the growing season, are eaten almost immediately and require very little cooking time.
Winter squashes like butternut, acorn, spaghetti and pumpkin are harvested at the end of the summer, can be stored in a cool, dry place for eating later and generally require longer cooking times.
Gourds are from the same family as squashes.
When purchasing these fruits, look for squash and gourds that are fairly heavy and firm. Choose squash that have bright, glossy exteriors and avoid squash that have nicks, bruises or soft spots.
Here are a few yummy squash recipes you may want to try this fall.
Butternut Squash Soup
6 tablespoons chopped onion
4 tablespoons margarine
6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
3 cups water
4 cubes chicken bouillon
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
2 (8 ounces) cream cheese
In a large saucepan, sauté onions in margarine until tender. Add squash, water, bouillon, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil. Cook for 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or a food processor in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan and heat through. Do not allow to boil.
Candied Acorn Squash
1 medium acorn squash (about 1 ¼ pounds)
¼ cup maple syrup or 3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
½ teaspoon finely shredded orange peel (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg
Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds. Arrange the squash halves, cut side down, in a 2-quart baking dish. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Turn the squash halves cut side up.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together maple syrup, butter, orange peel (if desired), and cinnamon. Spoon syrup mixture into centers of squash halves. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until squash is tender.