Hand drawn image of Squash

Squash

Cucurbita

Winter squash and pumpkin originate in the Americas but are grown around the globe. We go for varieties that are sweetly nutty and full-flavoured; a tray of slow roasted squash is a satisfying starting point for hearty soups and stews, winter salads or warming curries.

Image of Squash being produced

In the kitchen

Storage

Keep squash warm and dry. Enjoy their decorative qualities by storing them on a kitchen shelf. They should last several months. Once cut, keep them in the fridge and use within a week.

Prep & Cooking tips

Generally you’ll need to peel them before cooking. You can roast squash with the skin on - cut them in half first, though, or they may explode! If you do need to peel it, use a large sharp knife to slice off the top and bottom of the squash. This provides a secure base to begin peeling away the tough outer skin. Some varieties are easier to peel than others; you may triumph with a good quality peeler, but a large sharp knife cut downwards and close to the skin can be easier. Once peeled, slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. You’ll then have two halves ready to slice, chunk or stuff as needed.

Don't throw the insides away! The seeds and inside trimmings from squash can be used in veg stock, giving a vibrant colour when used in risotto or soup. Add squash trimmings to other stock ingredients, simmer in enough water to cover for about an hour and strain through a sieve.

Roasting squash gives a dish of glorious colours and deep, sweet flavours. Good as a starter, drizzled with yogurt and chilli oil; as a side, mashed with nutmeg, salt and butter; or stirred into risotto just before the rice is cooked. Alternatively, squash is an excellent candidate for being stuffed and baked whole, or simmered in hearty stews, curries and soups.

Easy ideas

1. Roasted

Surely the most common treatment for a squash, peeled and cut into chunks or curved wedges. Cooking times will vary from about 20-40 mins in a hot oven. A little chilli, spice or herbs would be welcome in the final 5 mins. They are done when they give to a firm pinch from a pair of tongs. They can be eaten hot as a side or cooled and made into a salad, maybe with some toasted nuts, red onion and sheep’s cheese.

2. Braised

Varieties of squash with a firmer flesh like to cook in a liquid environment, be it a fragrant broth or lightly spiced tagine. They can be added in chunks to a slow braised stew for the final 30 mins to bring a hearty sweetness to a dish and will carry strong curry spices with broad shoulders. The flesh of Crown Prince, Butternut and Kabocha squash are dense, firm and will hold their shape well.

3. Stuffed

Cleave in half and remove the soft, seedy core with a large spoon. Fill the cavity with a tasty pulse, grain or meat based stuffing, then bake until the squash is tender. It is best if the stuffing contains a reasonable amount of moisture for tender results – a leftover Bolognese-style sauce works well.

Goes well with

Asian flavourings
Cheese
Dairy
Garlic
Onion
Nuts
Pork
Spices (Chilli, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Coriander, Cumin, Star anise)
Strong herbs

Squash recipes

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In the field

  • Meet the grower: Clive Martin, March, Cambridgeshire

    Clive Martin grows organic rhubarb, asparagus and more on Bedlam Farm in the Fenland area of Cambridgeshire, known for its rich, peaty soils.

    Read more

Seasonality

jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
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dec

Varieties

  • Bonbon

    A small, round, green squash with a glorious deep-orange flesh - roasts to a rich, honeyed sweetness.

  • Picture of Butternut

    Butternut

    Butternut squash has a clean, creamy flavour, thin skin, and the highest proportion of flesh to cavity.

  • Picture of Crown Prince

    Crown Prince

    Very dense-skinned, with deep orange flesh. It tastes great and keeps really well, but can be tough to peel.

  • Picture of Delicata

    Delicata

    This small, striped squash has a mild, fragrant flesh and creamy texture. It's fantastically easy to prepare: just bake and eat it skin and all, no need to peel.

  • Picture of Kabocha

    Kabocha

    The skin can be green or orange, but both have sweet, firm orange flesh inside that is good steamed and mashed, or roasted in wedges with the skin left on.

  • Picture of Patty Pan

    Patty Pan

    Mild and soft-skinned, these are a popular summer variety with a taste a bit like courgettes, but with a firmer flesh and a more buttery flavour.

  • Picture of Spaghetti

    Spaghetti

    True to its name, the flesh falls away into strands as it cooks. Treat it like spaghetti and top with sauce.

  • Picture of Sweet Mama

    Sweet Mama

    This round, dark green squash hides glorious yellow flesh that lives up to the sweetness of its name. Best suited for roasting until sweet and tender.

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