gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 80

Cathy's Kitchen With Cathy Katavich The Holiday Vegetable Pumpkins & Squash Pumpkins and winter squash are plants from the gourd family, known as “cucurbits” which also includes melon, squash and cucumber. And although they are considered winter squash, they are planted during the warmer months and harvested in the fall and up until the first frost. Pumpkins are believed to have originated in Central America. Seeds from pumpkin plants have been found in Mexico, dating back over 7000 years to 5500 B.C. Native American Indians used pumpkin as a staple in their diets, centuries before the pilgrims landed. When European settlers arrived, Pumpkin soon became a staple in their diets, too. The pilgrims also brought seeds back to Europe, where they quickly became popular. Just like today, early settlers used pumpkins in a wide variety of recipes, from desserts to stews and soups. Fall wouldn’t be the same without the arrival of all things pumpkin. Can you imagine Halloween or Thanksgiving without the pumpkin! Pumpkins were at the first Thanksgiving feast of the Pilgrims and Indians in 1620, and from that time forward, pumpkins continue to be a tradition at the Thanksgiving feast. Pumpkins became associated with Halloween in the 1880’s when Irish immigrants came to America. They brought with them a harvest ritual of carving lanterns out of beets or turnips. These were called “jack-o’-lanterns,” after a fabled trickster named Jack who roamed the Earth with just a light burning from a turnip. The Irish quickly discovered that Pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve than turnips and such was the beginning of the pumpkin jack- o’- lantern! Types of Winter Squash and Pumpkins A wide array of colors, shapes, textures and sizes exist in today’s winter squashes and pumpkins, but the common feature is a sweet yellow or orange flesh. The following are the most readily readlyavailable types: Acorn: This is probably the best known winter squash-acorn shaped with skin colored dark green, orange, or a blend of both. The orange flesh is mild in flavor and is often sweetened. Butternut: This pale-yellow squash has a long straight neck and rounded bottom that contains the seeds. It's one of the more delicious-tasting squashes and is easier to peel than some of the other squashes, making it a go-to squash for recipes that call for dices or slices, such as gratins. Spaghetti Squash: Oval and yellowskinned with pale yellow flesh, that when cooked can be pulled into strands resembling spaghetti. It can be served just like spaghetti, with any type of pasta sauce. It can also be tossed with salad dressing and served as a cold salad. Hubbard: This is one of the best-tasting squashes. The skin can be blue, gray or orange, and usually has “warts”. Generally, a large squash, smaller varieties are becoming more available that make it more useful to the home cook. Delicata: Pale-colored with dark green stripes, this small, oblong squash is probably the easiest winter squash to peel and dice or slice. its oblong shape is perfect for stuffing. Kabocha: This is a dark green, squat, round squash with very dense orange flesh. These are the sweetest of the squash and often pureed for soups and sauces, as they don’t hold their shape well. Pumpkin: For cooking, the jack-o'- lantern type pumpkins are not as good as other winter squashes. However, different mini-sized pumpkins that are grown specifically for cooking and baking can be excellent choices. 80 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 gmhtoday.com Cathy's Kitchen With Cathy Katavich The Holiday Vegetable Pumpkins & Squash F Pumpkins and winter squash are plants from the gourd family, known as “cucurbits” which also includes melon, squash and cucumber. And although they are considered winter squash, they are planted during the warmer months and harvested in the fall and up until the fi rst frost. Pumpkins are believed to have originated in Central America. Seeds from pumpkin plants have been found in Mexico, dating back over 7000 years to 5500 B.C. Native American Indians used pumpkin as a staple in their diets, centuries before the pilgrims landed. When European settlers arrived, Pumpkin soon became a staple in their diets, too. The pilgrims also brought seeds back to Europe, where they quickly became popular. Just like today, early settlers used pumpkins in a wide variety of recipes, from desserts to stews and soups. 80 all wouldn’t be the same without the arrival of all things pumpkin. Can you imagine Halloween or Thanksgiving without the pumpkin! 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