The Pumpkin Series, or should I call it … The Squash Series?

Because of the fall season I wanted to make several recipes using different types of “pumpkins”, that’s what I first thought. I went to the local market and bought a bunch of them, all different. I picked one, cooked it the “Tatiana way” and shared the recipe with you last week , just like I did in my previous post: the now famous Butternut Squash and Apple Chicken Curry (LINK). However, writing that post was not that straight forward. It triggered so many questions. In this new blog post, I would like to share with you what I learned last week about pumpkins and squashes and more. I hope you find this short note useful and that it gives you a better understanding of squashes, so you are not overwhelmed in the market by all these beautiful and healthy gifts from nature.

The “pumpkins” in my kitchen this autumn.

For the curry recipe, the first thing I wrote was the ingredients list. In my native Venezuelan Spanish speaker mind, this is an “Auyama” recipe, I thought. That’s how we call every pumpkin available in the venezuelan market, mainly dominated by the traditional pumpkin like the ones carved for Halloween. Yet, I knew I was not using auyama but butternut squash, and then, all these questions came to me while writing: Is the pumpkin a squash or is the squash a pumpkin? Are they related? What are the differences? So, I did a quick research to understand better the main product I used in that recipe, and the ones I initially bought for the upcoming blog posts. I realized that there is more to the topic of “the pumpkin world” than I thought. 

I found so much information and knowledge that writing a full article about it will take forever; it will certainly be a beautiful but long piece of work. Therefore, for this post, I will give you a summary of my findings and an overview of what is coming up in the blog.

Here’s is what I found:

  • Pumpkin is a type of squash.
  • I learned a new word: Gourd.
  • Gourds are beautiful and mainly decorative. They have a very thick skin, also lacking that fleshy interior typically found in squashed. They come both in large and mini sizes. I love the mini gourds for decoration, they are fun and can be placed anywhere you want around the house.
Mini gourds for home decoration
  • Squashes and Gourds are related. They belong to the Cucurbitaceae family.
  • There are summer and winter squashes. Examples of summer squashes are Chayote, Zucchini or Courgettes, both in yellow and green colours, among others.
  •  In the below photo, you will find the names of the winter squash I found in the local market in Assen, my hometown. Bear in mind, this is just a shortlist! There are many, many more, gorgeous and edible squashes out there, such as the spaghetti, acorn squash and tons more.
Winter quashes I found in my hometown market and their names
  • To my surprise: the Dutch crookneck and the Jack be little are edible; I certainly thought they were decorative only (sort of gourds).
  • The Kabocha squash is originally from Japan. I look forward to learning Japanese dishes using this product.
  • Winter squashes are full of flavour, vitamins, fibre yet they are low in calories. To my opinion, the value of including this product in a daily diet is underestimated by many.
  • There are many ways of how to cook squash beyond curries and the two most well-known applications in Venezuela soup and desserts. Especially in American cuisine, pumpkin and squashes play an important role in the Thanksgiving festivities.  
  • For the Venezuelan crowd: The spaghetti squash is the one we use to make our traditional “Dulce de Cabello de Angel “, which translate to English “Angel’s hair dessert”, it is such a delicacy! If anyone knows the name of this squash in Spanish. Please let me know in a comment.

What’s coming next?

After my quick and dirty research, it turned out that I had not three but five edible squashes in my kitchen. Nevertheless, for this series, I planned to share three recipes using the pumpkin, butternut and kabocha squashes, and I will stick to the plan. There will be no death by squash recipes, I promise. The following is what you can find already, or will be found in the blog very soon:

  1. A butternut squash recipe: The curry with dutch apples and chicken recipe I shared last week , you may find it at https://theblockskitchen.com/recipes/butternut-pumpkin-apple-curry/.
  2. A Venezuelan pumpkin recipe: “Quesillo de Auyama” or Pumpkin caramel flan
  3. A kabocha squash recipe. Either American or Japanese cuisine (if I find the ingredients, fingers crossed).

I’ll keep you posted about the new recipes on my Instagram.  

Hope to see you soon!

Tatiana

PS: All the images in this article belong to the author and are subject to Copyright.

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20 Comments

    1. Thanksssss Enriqueta! your comment means so much to me. The result of the photoshoot session was amazing. It was done using natural light with all those beautiful elements I collected just days before during my daily walks and my visit to the local open market . I was so inspired, I took more than 100 pics, it was difficult to pick just a few for this post.

  1. Dios! Qué fotos tan lindas! Y todo el post me encantó. En Perú les llamaríamos zapallo a todos, así como para ustedes sería auyama. Hay que disfrutar la temporada conociendo bien cada uno. Muy lindo lo que has escrito.

    1. Gracias Morena! estaba super inspirada, había una luz natural perfecta en el momento que tomé las fotos en mi cocina. Estoy muy contenta con el resultado y me encanta que a uds también les guste. Igualmente, me alegra que el post como tal te haya gustado. Gracias por dejarnos saber como le dicen en Perú a las calabazas. Saludos!

  2. Loving the photos! Can you cook the quesillo only with pumpkin or could I replace with a butternut? would there be a huge difference in flavour? Many thanks for the advice! Looking forward to your recipes!

  3. Waooo!!!..que fotos tan espectaculares Tary!!!…te felicito me encanta tu bloc..esperando las proXimas recetas!!!

  4. I also loved the pictures!!! Y cómo se hace el Dulce de Cabello de Ángel? 😍😍😍

  5. Tatiana, amazing photographs original, colorful! Congratulations for such beautiful composition.

  6. Wow me encantaron las fotos y conocer un poco mas sobre los diferentes tipos de pumpkin. Ya gracias a tu post se cuando vaya al mercado que buscar y para que usar.

  7. Beautiful photos and a lot of interesting information about pumpkins and squashes. Can’t wait for your auyama quesillo! I have some kabosha recipes on muy blog. I’m a fan of Japanese food.

  8. Looking forward to more pumpkin/squash/kobucha recipes! I’m sure there are going to be great. And your pictures are so beautiful, love them

  9. Tati super amazing article, now with those tips I bet putting a nice soup will be the best investment during this fall season. Thanks so much for the educational article. 🌟

  10. Tati, excellent blog! Love it (though loved the curry recipe more). I can’t wait for the Pumpkin caramel flan edition. Asked my mother in law but she only replied “it’s called Cabello de angel”, Lol. I think it’s called a Cucurbita or Siam pumpkin in English…

    1. Hi ! thanks for your comment and the answer about the cabello de angel. Indeed, that’s how I remember called the aquash in Venezuela. I Just wondered if there’s another one. Cucurbita is the genus of the gourd family (scientifically speaking) , it is a more general name for gourds/calabazas.

  11. Love seeing and learning about the different kinds of pumpkins and squash.
    Getting ready to try one of your recipes.

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