Market Watch: Kabocha Squash

Here’s what to do with fresh kabocha squash from the local farmers market.
502580810

502580810

Photo by: Torsakarin ©Torsakarin

Torsakarin, Torsakarin

This lesser-known variety of winter squash is having its heyday at local farmers markets right now. Don’t be intimidated by its dark and rough exterior; inside is a gourd full of goodness.

Kabocha Facts

A Japanese variety of squash, kabocha resembles a squatty, dark green pumpkin. Its outer skin is rough and bumpy, but inside hides a vibrant pale-orange flesh that tastes like a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin. Kabocha also delivers in the nutrition department, offering plentiful amounts of vitamins A and C, folate, potassium and fiber.

What to Do with Kabocha Squash

Much like pumpkin and butternut squash, kabocha can go in a wide variety of culinary directions. As with many winter squashes, the biggest challenge is dealing with the tough outer skin. Peeling it won’t be easy, so it’s better to cut it open, remove the seeds, and peel away the skin after boiling or roasting — you can also make it in a slow cooker.

Once mashed or pureed, the squash yields an incredibly light, silky and flavorful flesh that permeates your senses with the smell and taste of fall. Use it as a main ingredient for soups and sauces. You can enhance its flavor with earthy accoutrements like sage, cardamom and cinnamon or take things in a completely different direction with citrus and coconut milk. Kabocha’s natural sweetness and creamy texture also work nicely in muffins, breads, pie, panna cotta and ice cream.

See our tips for breaking down a kabocha squash.

Recipes to Try:

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of  Dana White Nutrition, Inc. , which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Market Watch: Summer Squash

I love summer squash sautéed or roasted – but what about raw? Check out these two squash recipes full of summer flavor and there’s no cooking required!

Market Watch: Squash Blossoms

You can find them at the farmers’ markets from late spring to early fall. Squash blossoms are the sweet and tender flowers of growing summer squash. I (very gently) grabbed some and rushed home to cook them my favorite way– stuffed and fried until golden (yes, fried!).

Market Watch: Early Butternut Squash, and a Butternut Squash Focaccia Recipe

Typically winter squash isn’t ready until mid-October, but I get to enjoy it extra early since I grow this special variety in my garden.

Market Watch: Dandelion Greens

First up: verdant and pleasingly bitter dandelion greens. Here's what they're like and how to use them today.

Market Watch: Pears

Pick up a few varieties of these delicate Autumn gems next time you're at the market.

Market Watch: String Beans

Also known as snap beans or green beans, string beans aren’t just for Thanksgiving casseroles.

Market Watch: Cherries

Scoop up a basket of fresh, in-season cherries next time you're at the farmers market.

Market Watch: Pepper Relish

My market is overflowing with pickles, pickled beets, jams, and salsas – it’s the farmers’ way of getting more mileage out of their seasonal goodies. Try out a savory take on jams and jelly with a personal fave – tangy pepper relish.

Market Watch: Garlic Scapes

Chances are you won’t find garlic scapes anywhere but the farmers’ market. They’re often passed over because people may not be sure what they are. Take advantage of this local food delicacy, but act fast, these delicious curly green shoots are only available for a short time.

Market Watch: Rainbow Chard

My CSA box is erupting with gigantic bunches of this leafy green veggie. This variety of Swiss chard has fluffy, tender green leaves and edible stems bursting with color and flavor.