Hand drawn image of Squash

Squash

skwɒʃ 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.

Video: How to Cook Squash

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

  • Image of Clive Martin

    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.

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