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Friday, October 29, 2010

Autumn Mood and Squash Mystery

Part 1. Autumn Mood


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Part 2. Squash Mystery?

Am I the only one who is puzzled with the shown squash shape? Not every squash, but the type shown above, with a distinctive ‘hat’? I never thought about this unusual shape before, but this year it struck me. How in the world can a vegetable have such two unique, absolutely different parts? I was thinking… and thinking… and thinking til I got the idea: it is not a real vegetable! Well, it’s real, but it’s made from parts taken from two different squashes. They took a squash and put a ‘hat’ on it. Where did they take a ‘hat’? Cut it from another squash! My boys joined my ‘brain storm’ and even tried to separate the two parts. “It’s glued” was their verdict! Only when I found a two year old picture of the piles of weirdly shaped squash on a farm we visited, we realized that the squash with a hat was real!

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They just couldn’t cut and glue so many vegetables. They would need to hire dozens of people to do that. Can you imagine such a picture: at night, under the light of burning torches, dozens of people sit around a pile of squash and craft acorn-like vegetables to fool the customers the next day?

So, it’s real! But was it like this all the time or has it been hybridized in some agricultural labs? My Internet search didn’t give any results, although I learned more about squash than I ever wanted to know.
Turban squash (Cucurbita maxima turbaniformis)
is a winter squash. As the name suggests, its shape resembles that of the Turkish hat, turban. Although, I personally would name it Acorn squash, because it looks exactly as an oak's acorn!!!


Photo from Wikipedia

I actually thought it was the acorn squash, but was corrected by Clare from Curbstone valley Farm (http://curbstonevalley.com/blog/)

The following information is about an acorn squash. It is easy to grow. “Seeds are started after all danger of frost is past and the soil is warm or within 3–4 weeks before the predicted last frost date in the area. Seeds directly sown are placed one inch deep, 5-6 to a hill; hills are 6 feet in all direction from other hills. Roughly 85 days after germinating, acorn squash are ready to be harvested. Curing takes a week to ten days in a sheltered area outside, or a warm dry place such as a garage, protected from frost”. (Wikipedia).
The seeds of the squash are also eaten, usually after being toasted. Acorn squash is most commonly baked, but can also be microwaved, sautéd, and steamed. If you lack beta-carotene, you’d rather eat other winter squashes, but if you need a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, then acorn squash is a good choice. It also has vitamins C and B, foliate, thiamin, magnesium and manganese.
If you want to try an acorn squash dish, they say that baking an acorn squash is quite simple. In the easiest form, you can simply halve the squash, scoop out its seeds with a spoon, and bake it for approximately an hour. Some people cover the squash, or bake it in a dish surrounded with water so the top layer of the acorn squash does not harden. It isn’t necessary to peel the acorn squash. This can easily be accomplished after it is steamed or baked, or it can simply be served in its shell.

Acorn squash pairs well with sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In pureed form, if you really want to be decadent, you can add some butter and a bit of brown sugar for a sweet winter side dish. You should also consider acorn squash as one of the great winter squashes for vegan or vegetarian dishes. The size makes it perfect for individual stuffed portions, and it makes for a hearty meal. This info is from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-acorn-squash.htm
While I was pretending that I have nothing more to do than browse the Internet for more squash information, I found some very interesting and funny vegetable pictures here: http://www.frogview.com/show2.php?file=1508 Check it out, and you will never look at the vegetables the same way. You can show it to your kids too! My favorites are the cauliflower sheep, eggplant penguins and crying pumpkin (Missy( http://missyhomegarden.blogspot.com/) thinks it's an orange. She is probably right, but hey, it's pumpkin time! Let's pretend it's a pumpkin!).





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Have a wonderful autumn, fall or whatever you prefer: 秋季 , podzim, efterår, herfst, sügis, syksy, automne, der Herbst, φθινόπωρο, ősz, haust, musim gugur, autunno, 秋 , 가을, rudens, ruduo, høst, jesień, outono, toamnă, осень, jeseň, jesen, otoño, höst, sonbahar, فَصل الخَريف !

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P.S. I am still curious about how they managed to make turban squash wear a hat??? If you know anything about it, please let me know!
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Copyright 2010 TatyanaS

20 comments:

  1. Perhaps it is a genetic mutation that a grower built upon? Honestly, I don't know but I am going to buy some squash next shopping trip and try it pureed with butter and brown sugar. Sounds delicious!

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  2. Oh, I love acorn squash Tatyana! I mostly buy the solid green variety. It is so easy as you say to simply bake. Yummy. Fun to stuff too. Happy Autumn to you. Nearly the end of October. Beautiful Fall Moods! Have a lovely weekend. ;>)

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  3. Any way shape and form, I adore squash! From toasted seeds to soup, risotto, roasted, whipped, cake, pies, bread, etc. ... a favorite harvest gift.

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  4. Isn't that a crying ORANGE? It doesn't look like a pumpkin to me.

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  5. Thank you for your comments! Shirley's guess sounds good...
    Missy is right, it is an orange. Ha! I think I see too many pumpkins around!!
    Joey and Carol, I would love to try squash that you prepared!

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  6. Tatyana, I love the shapes and color of squashes. I have bought this squash with the hat for an edible and non-edible experiment with the children. They all said you could not eat it, but that you could eat gourds.

    Eileen

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  7. Love your shots making autumn look so inviting.
    Can't remember the last time I had squash...maybe a soup.

    Fun stuff with the animals.

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  8. Wait, Tatyana, if you mean the squash in the last photo, those don't look like the acorn squash I'm familiar with. You're right, acorn squash are Cucurbita pepo, but typically are almost heart shaped, coming to a point at the tip, with longitudinal ridges, like these:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acorn_squash

    Your squash with the 'hats' actually look to me more like a turban squash, sometimes called Turk's Turban (Cucurbita maxima):

    http://www.theworldwidegourmet.com/products/vegetables/turban-squash/

    there's a mini version too:

    http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-7085-mini-red-turban.aspx

    Regardless, I'm sure they're still tasty!

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  9. Hooray for Curbstone Valley Farm!!! It's a Turban squash!!! But don't you think it looks like an acorn? They certainly mixed up with names! I need to start a campain for renaming!

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  10. Squashes are just so pretty, every kind ..wish I had room for one of every kind. !

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  11. Have a happy Autumn and may the winter be cold enough to kill your bugs but not freeze our butts off!

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  12. The pumpkin does look like an acorn but is called a Turban Squash. How interesting! First time I see something like this.

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  13. Tatyana, first of all.. GET OUT!!!, those are beautiful pictures at top. Love them!
    Second, great and entertaining writing about the turban squash. (Have to add that Delicata is my favorite, sweetest squash I've tried so far.)
    Third, the penguins, who ever thinks of these clever things? Oh, and Annoying Orange is really popular with my two boys.
    And, lastly, Glad höst to you too!

    Annelie

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  14. Nice fall photos, Tatyana. That little shed is to die for. I also like your fall still life with the bouquet and gourds. Very warm.

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  15. Very lovely fall images. I liked your squash report, so informative. I always thought like you that Turban squash should be called acorn squash. They sure are pretty, but acorn squash is really tasty.

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  16. Dear Tatyana, Your autumnal arrangement of the Hydrangea heads in the galvanised container looks so very pretty. And, surrounded by such a variety of gourds etc. it makes the perfect statement piece for the season.

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  17. We love acorn squash! As well as the ways you suggested, It can also be substituted for pumpkin in pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie recipes.

    I love your collages - they do capture the essence of Autumn. I really like the spider web photo!

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  18. I bookmarked your blog since a year ago...this is first time I give a comment....err..not a comment...just wanna to say hi....so, Hi!

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  19. Oh, oh, oh - I love your Autumn mood photos! :) The old wooden building with the flowers out front is sublime.

    Happy Halloween!

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  20. aloha,

    i've always found those squash to be quite interesting to photograph and use for centerpieces and they last a long, long time.

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Thank you for stopping by and for your comment! I appreciate your time! See you soon on your blog!

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