A hollowed-out, tiger-striped carnival pumpkin makes a colorful bowl for butternut-apple soup. Keep the seeds; they can be seasoned and roasted for garnishes and snacks.
Photo by Sue Ade/Morris News Ser
The season for the sometimes bizarre but still beautiful winter squash has arrived.
On the outside, squash are sometimes decked out in bright, knock-your-socks-off autumn colors. They can be found in shapes ranging from long and curvaceous to fat and flat.
On the inside, squash is sweet and moist and pleasantly flavored.
Among the tangle of fibrous material lie edible seeds that can be roasted for a tasty and nutritious snack.
Squash have long been used in a variety of recipes for autumn fare like stuffings, gratins, souffls, muffins, breads, cakes and cookies. But soups made from squash are perhaps the most satisfying of all.
A simmering pot of velvety-textured and slightly nutty-flavored squash soup not only helps take the chill out of the air, but also beckons appetites with the aroma.
A cream of pumpkin soup made with brown sugar, coriander and mace, or a soup comprised of butternut squash, apples, honey, nutmeg and cinnamon, fills the house with the essence of autumn.
Winter squash is being harvested now. The most common varieties are butternut, hubbard, ambercup, acorn, spaghetti and pumpkin.
Whether you consider squash a vegetable or a fruit (botanically, it's a fruit), squash will be at its peak throughout the winter, meaning there will be lots of great squash-eating in the months to come.
For those not up to wrestling with a gourd of any size, shape or color, remember that canned pure pumpkin is available year round. It's convenient, it's economical and it's just as good in recipes (in fact, sometimes better). And it's got everything a fresh pumpkin has, except, of course, the seeds.
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