To peel or not to peel? It’s not always clear with squash. Depending on the variety, however, you can save yourself a lot of effort with this vegetable.
When squash began to find its way back into our kitchens at the end of the last century, the selection of varieties available was still very small. People would usually buy a slice of the large, hard orange variety. Back then, there was no doubt that the vegetable had to be peeled before it was cooked.
Nowadays, however, we have a much greater selection at our disposal and the question “to peel or not to peel” is worth asking as it has the potential to turn a squash dish into fast food.
Farmer Dieter Weber runs an organic farm in Liestal and grows a hundred or so different varieties of squash. He says: “Many of them can be eaten with the skin on”. One such example is the red kuri squash, also known as Hokkaido. It is one of the most popular squash varieties. With the skin on, it is perfect for roasting in the oven or using in a soup.
Dieter Weber has a tip: “If the skin of the squash feels very smooth when you run your finger over it, chances are you will need to peel it”. The likelihood is you won’t need to peel squash with a rough surface.
This includes the Delicata. This variety of squash captured my heart following a visit to Dieter Weber. He gave me the following tip: Simply cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, add butter, garlic and salt, and pop it in the oven. Roast at 190°C (convection) for approx. 40 mins. It makes a great accompaniment as well as a main meal.
If you’re interested in gaining an insight into the diverse world of squash, I recommend an autumn visit to the farm run by Dieter Weber and Nadja Graber in Liestal (Canton Basel-Land). They have an impressive selection of squash as well as recipes to go with almost every edible variety. For more information, go to www.oberewanne.ch