Squash/Pumpkins

Squash/Pumpkins

General Information: Squash and pumpkin are members of the gourd family. They have botanical relatives originating from various locations throughout the world. Melons and cucumbers belong to the same family, even though melons come from Africa and cucumbers from Asia. The flesh from squash is usually yellow or orange, and has a mild and sweet flavor, which intensifies when cooked. The seeds make a nice snack when roasted, and have a pleasant nutty flavor. Pumpkin oil is very dark with an intense flavor, which is usually added to salads. Most oils are made in Austria. There are numerous varieties available in Swiss markets. The most common and flavorful are: Acorn Squash (Eichelkürbis), Butternut Squash (Moschuskürbis), Spaghetti Squash (Spaghetti-Kürbis), and the Patisson (also Patisson).

Season:  September until the first frost, although well stored squash (see below) will hold until the end of February, with some varieties holding through the entire spring.

Purchasing Tips:  Choose smaller squash for more tender and succulent flavor. They should be free from blemishes, and heavy for their size, with a hard skin. The skin color varies greatly from creamy tan/orange to mottled gray-blue. The flesh also varies from deep orange to yellow or light green. The texture should be firm and smooth.

Storage:  Portioned squash should be refrigerated, and consumed within one week. Whole squash can be stored at room temperature for one month, or in a cool, dark location for up to three months or longer.

Cooking Tips:  Squash can be roasted, steamed, pureed, sautéed, and boiled. They should not be consumed raw. All squash contain large portions of water, which will be released when cooking. Strain the squash well before serving, but don’t throw away the liquid – it makes a nice addition to any stock. Also, don’t throw away the seeds – they make wonderful snacks when husked, dried, and roasted.

Nutritional Info:  Rich in vitamin B & C, and carotene. Vitamin A is also present. The seeds are rich in minerals and protein.

« back to What's in Season