Seasonal Selections: Squash
Lisa Cleveland from Wilson Nurseries with their flagship store in Frankfort and a new outlet in Lexington suggests exploring common and unusual options this fall. Wilson’s and the Plant Kingdom in Louisville represent locally owned gardening retailers where the benefits of shopping local can be experienced.
This forest green, deeply ribbed squash with yellow-orange flesh resembles its namesake, the acorn. With a sweet and nutty flavor, acorn squash is best baked. Simply halving the squash, hollowing out the center and filling it with butter, brown sugar and maple syrup can create a delicacy. Bake for an hour and be prepared to taste fall.
BLUE HUBBARD SQUASH
This squash was likely used by your great-grandmother and is a fall tradition in New England. Blue hubbard is also the go-to for pies in the Poconos. It will last for months (but do not store near apples — they turn the skin yellow).
This bright, red-orange pumpkin has almost custard-like flesh that the Pilgrims enjoyed at the second Thanksgiving. It is the most popular pumpkin in French markets and has been since the 1880s. With a little magic, this pumpkin has been known to turn into a sturdy carriage for a ride to the ball.
The green-striped cushaw is believed to have been domesticated in Mesoamerica sometime between 7000 and 3000 BC. Its heat tolerance and longevity have made it a tradition throughout the south. It has a mild, sweet flavor with a meaty texture. It has been said to be better than the standard pumpkin for pie making.
Large, pear-shaped, 10-inch fruit grows on vines and can be trained to grow on a trellis or fence. Although they are edible, these gourds are best known for their use as birdhouses or other crafts. Gourd birdhouses are attractive to many species of birds including purple martins, bluebirds, wrens, chickadees, swallows, titmice and nuthatches.
RONDE DE NICE PUMPKINS
Eight ball is a rare and old variety French heirloom introduced by Vilmorin Seed Company, one of the oldest seed companies in the world. It can be grown as a fall pumpkin coveted for its unique, mottled green rind. Traditionally eaten when very small, its cue ball fruit is tender and unique.