Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Which are the best pumpkins? By Sarah Raven.

16 May 2015
Onion Squash 'Red Kuri':
"I have some tried-and-tested favourites: 'Red Kuri' is a useful size, with waxy texture and excellent taste.
It can climb (photo - on Teepee Trellis), which is handy in a smaller garden and is a good producer.

-Squash 'Red Kuri'
Looks and longevity 9/10
Eating 10/10
Also called 'Uchikiri' and red onion squash, this medium producer has deep orange skin and similar coloured flesh with a lovely sweet flavour and waxy texture.
The skin is soft enough to eat.
Seeds tough and not tasty.
This still remains in my top two or three.

The number-one squash in my family, because it has great taste and texture – waxy and sweet, tasting of chestnuts – and doesn't get too huge.
Three or four people can easily eat one of these at a sitting, not possible with some of the larger kinds.
It's also hugely ornamental and looks fantastic climbing up over frames (Teepee Trellis).
Sow under cover in late March.
Soak the seed overnight, then sow 2.5cm (1in) deep vertically (to prevent rotting), one to a 9cm pot.
Once they have 5 or 6 leaves, they're ready to go out.
Harden them off and then plant them out once the frosts are over.
You can also sow them direct into the ground outside from mid May.
Once arms reach 4ft long, pinch out tips to help fruit ripen.
HARVESTING August - October, 4 months from sowing.
Harvest when the skin is hard, leaving out in the sun for 10 days to ripen further.
COOKING NOTES Brilliant for soups and roasted in the oven.
I bought seeds and ready to plant!

How to store winter squashes
Harvest as late as possible and only cut once the skin has thickened and the stalk has become dry, and then store them until late November before starting to eat them.
They are tasteless if eaten fresh because they need six weeks to a couple of months to develop the nutty, sweet flavour.

When you harvest them try to leave a couple of inches of stem if you can and then store them upside down by slotting the stem through a wooden bench or the greenhouse staging.

Squashes stored upright tend to catch the moisture in the depression round the stalk and then they rot off more easily.
Once in store they should keep for at least three months - so they make an excellent winter vegetable from early November until the end of January or February.

To prepare the squash, simply slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, and then cut it up into chunks. Now you're ready to sauté, steam, braise, roast, or boil.

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