Friday, November 19, 2010

Uchiki kuri

Readers hold onto your spoons! 
In October the children visited several grocery stores in search of the "Great Pumpkin". Much to their dismay none were to be found. There was a shortage of pumpkins due to the large amount of rain we had over the summer. SO, the children brought home a selection of gourds and squashes. In hopes that we could create something acceptable for our lack of pumpkins. In the end, I ended up using electrical pumpkins to decorate the outside. It would have looked spookier with real pumpkin but it still looked good.

One of the squash was called a Uchiki Kuri, Orange Hokkaido also known as Japanese squash. It's season runs from September to December. The outer skin is tougher than pumpkin. The flesh is a beautiful orange with huge seeds. The seeds have an outer coating that has been refereed to "a likeness to dragons skin"! To me it looked like a cross between a pumpkin seed and corn pops cereal. The flesh tastes sweet and nutty raw. The oldest said that it is the most unusual squash she had ever tasted raw, and it is good.

I baked the squash at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. The skin was brownish in spots, soft and easy to peel. I then mashed the squash, added 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance, and 4 tablespoons of brown sugar. Oh my golly, Oh my golly was it good. I could so see using this instead of pumpkin for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!

 According to my research, the taste of the squash is very similar to chestnuts. I have never tasted chestnuts but if this is anything near it then I definitely would love to roast some over an open fire and find out! Very easy to cook, very versatile and even the pickiest eater loved it!

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