Friday, November 8, 2013

How to Pick a Great Squash

There are many types of squash, so how do know if one is fully mature.

I resist using the term ripe here as it is more of a curing process than a ripening. Most of the darker squash like acorn or kubotcha develop an orange splash where the squash touches the ground. So what if the squash is suspended and doesn't touch the ground. Well the squash still matures but doesn't have the orange splash. It is typically a dark green or grey (if it is lighter green then it is probably not mature).

Even some of the lighter squash get this orange color. For example, Delicata, Carnival and Jester. The effect is more subtle with just the stripes exhibiting the color change. The orange color comes from the blanching of the ground contact point a little like the the changing of the color of the leaves on a tree. The orange color is always there on a ripe squash but you can't see it until the green is blanched by lack of contact with light.

Other squash like orange kubotcha or orange hubbard probably get the orange splash but since they are already orange it isn't prominent.

Spaghetti squash don't get the orange splash at all but mature to a beautiful golden yellow. There is one variety they turns a deep orange and has a more orange flesh.

Butternut also do not get the orange splash but look for the darker classic butternut brown color. This does vary from variety to variety a bit. There are some new varieties with a more compact vine and fruit that I like a lot. The Waltham Butternuts get so large that they can be a bit much for a small family. Butternuts make a great pie if you find you have more than needed for a meal.

No comments:

Post a Comment