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.
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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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/.
- A Venezuelan pumpkin recipe: “Quesillo de Auyama” or Pumpkin caramel flan
- 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!
PS: All the images in this article belong to the author and are subject to Copyright.