It’s gourd news for squash fans who might have grown tired of pumpkin.
THANKSGIVING AND the last slices of pie will come and go. Pumpkin fatigue will set in. What to do with the remaining months of cool weather? We suggest the red kuri as a worthy successor for the winter-squash world, a cheerfully bright gourd that’s almost cartoonishly orange-red. The flame mini-Hubbard squash is shaped like a plump pear or wide-bodied teardrop, tasting sweet and even chestnut-like. (The name comes from the Japanese word for chestnut.)
I planted red kuris in my garden this year, after flirtations with a few other types of attractive-sounding winter squash, and was wowed by the productive vines and the colorful harvest. Turns out I wasn’t the first to appreciate its cork-stemmed charms.
“It’s a very approachable squash. It’s like a gateway squash for people into new options,” says Neil Subhash, who runs Carnation’s Present Tense Farm with partner Jayme Haselow. It’s also the go-to squash they eat at home.
At a few pounds apiece, “It’s not so big that you don’t know what to do with it,” Subhash says. The skin — usually “the big barrier to people” when it comes to cooking winter squash — is edible, even delicious.
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“When you want to eat a squash for dinner, they’re just so easy. You chop it up and bake it,” he says. To be a little more specific, you cut it in half, scoop the seeds out, slice it, coat the slices in olive oil, and roast it with some salt and pepper.
Most winter-squash varieties have characteristic uses: Butternuts are beloved for soup, delicatas are sliced into boats and stuffed with ground beef or grains, sugar-pie pumpkins or (if you can find them) heirloom winter luxury pumpkins make good pies. The red kuri, Subhash says, works well for all those purposes and more.
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