Happy Boy Produce
SEASON: Fall, Winter, Spring
Kabocha can typically last for 4 to 5 months, if you can wait that long to eat them!
Great for Curries and Soups
Posted by Drew
Kabocha squash, pronounced kah-bow-cha, is a type of Japanese pumpkin, quite similar to buttercup squash. There are many different green kabocha varieties, but most look squat and round shaped with an adorable cork-like stem. The kind we grow has a somewhat sophisticated deep woodsy coloring with striations of dusty green. It stands on its own in terms of flavor and texture, but make no mistake…this is not part of the sweet squash gang. The flavor is deep and rich, and reminiscent of roasted grains. The colors inside glow ochre. The texture is dense and flaky, drier than other squash, yet the flavor lends itself to a world of possibilities.
As far as squash varieties go, this one is a surprisingly good protein source and of course full of good vitamins making it a super healthy choice for any time of day. Kabocha is a fun, nutritious and unique ingredient for baked goods like biscuits or rolls. You can make beautiful spiced holiday breads or cookies with this squash. Sneak a bit more nutrition into your breakfast pancake batter or make a delicious ginger-coconut milk kabocha sauce to top off your waffles. The savory options are endless, but a few favorites are Thai curry or a Japanese restorative soup with shitake, udon and some leafy greens which can taste positively perfect on a chilly day.
To prepare, be sure to use a very strong knife and appropriate caution when cutting, as kabocha's exterior skin is tough and the flesh firm and dense. A cleaver may be the right tool for the job but avoid the stem area when slicing. Quarter into wedges, scoop out and discard the seeds. You can bake these quarters bake at 375 degrees for 30–40 minutes, or until soft all the way through. Optionally, add a 1/2 inch of water to the baking pan to steam-bake, which helps keep it moist and hastens the cooking time a bit.
It is also possible to cook the squash whole, skin and all, but be sure to pierce a few times to create air vents. You can halve it when it's partially cooked, scoop out the seeds and then continue baking until done. Cooking squash with its seeds does alter the flavor slightly, adding a considerable nutty, squashy flavor that some palates may or may not prefer.
Once cooked, pieces of kabocha will hold their texture without disintegrating. The meat can absorb a surprising amount of liquid making each morsel silky smooth and full of flavor. Of course if you want it to become a mash or puree, you will be rewarded by a remarkably smooth texture without stringy fibers.
The skin of cooked kabocha is thin enough to eat and it’s commonly left on in many recipes from Japan and Southeast Asia. It’s full of fiber and tasty. If you do bake kabocha in quarters, try wrapping it in aluminum foil (dull side out) and this will keep in the moisture, resulting in a delicate skin.
Cooking kabocha in soups, stews or broths is easy - just add your raw cut pieces of squash to the soups in the final 10 –12 minutes of cooking. Skin-on in this situation is the easiest, and also quite attractive and delicious. Besides, it can be quite challenging to peel it off, and a regular vegetable peeler is simply not strong enough for the job. If you really want to remove the skin, use a very sharp knife and push the blade away from you. There are less precise techniques, and you may end up wasting some of the squash. Be sure to save any peelings for future soup stock.
Kabocha stores best in a cool, dry, dark place, outside of the fridge and away from other ripening fruit.
Kabocha is high in vitamins A and C, beta-carotene and fiber.
Recipes & Pairings
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Beacuse of its denser and drier flesh, green kabocha is excellent in soups, stews and curries. Also try mashing or puréeing and using in baked goods for added color, nutrition and, of course, flavor!
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