Gourd Times Ahead

Tis the season for gourds! While they look so pretty as a centerpiece, sometimes we hesitate to buy them because we simply don’t know how to prepare them for the best flavor. Acorn, butternut, delicata, and spaghetti squash are just a few of the varieties worth exploring. Fortunately, they are some of the easiest fall fruits (no, they’re not veggies) to make. And since they’re high in vitamins, especially A, C, E and B, low in fat, it’s worth adding them into your meal planning.

Although they can be sauteed or steamed, my favorite way to enjoy them all winter long is to oven roast a large batch, then freeze them in single serve bags.

Follow these simple steps:

Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle orange juice, maple syrup, and a bit of butter over the halves. Flip them over and roast face down (the drizzle will caramelize beneath them) for about 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

When they’ve cooled down, the flesh will slip out from the skin with a little help from a spoon. Serve it warm with a lean pork tenderloin or curry chicken for a fabulous flavor combination.

Since I roast multiple gourds, I place the remaining cooked squash in small serving plastic bags and freeze. I can then thaw the required portion for any recipe.

I want to mention using spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta. When this variety is roasted the flesh comes out looking just like a thin spaghetti noodle. The sweet nutty flavor is outstanding. Try this recipe for a simple fresh flavor combo of mushrooms, tomatoes, and spaghetti squash.

Another shout out to pureeing squash for soups. It’s a great stand alone soup, but also can be used as a thickener for lentil or any other bean soup.