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The Fairy squash has an oval to pear-like shape and is lightweight and consumer friendly, weighing an average of only two pounds. The squash's rind has variegated patterns with tan and green when young, eventually losing some of its green stripes with maturity. Its flesh, a rich, deep pumpkin orange in color, is dense and moist with a large cottony and fibrous seed cavity. Though fragrant and firm when raw, it gains a rich, sweet, nutty flavor and velvety texture when cooked.
The Fairy squash is available late fall through the winter months.
Fairy squash is a hardy, disease resistant and prolific growing hybrid squash of the winter squash family, Cucurbita moschata. As a prolific fruiter, the Fairy squash not only provides an ample amount of squash come harvest time but will have a surplus of squash blossoms which can be harvested and used culinarily as well. The Fairy squash has not had the commercial success of other similarly sized squashes such as acorn and carnival as a result of its purely hybrid designation which means the seeds of Fairy squash cannot be saved as they won’t produce true in consecutive generations. To grow year after year new seeds must be purchased from seed distributors each season which makes it an expensive variety to grow.
Fairy squash contains vitamins A, C, and E, potassium, soluble fiber and magnesium. The deep orange colored flesh is also rich in beta carotene.
Fairy squash can be used for both savory and sweet recipes and can be halved or cut into chunks and roasted, baked, steamed or grilled. Cooked squash can be added to soups, stews, risotto, and curries. It can be served in wedges or halved as an accompaniment to roasted meats. When halved and baked it is the ideal size for stuffing and serving as an edible bowl. Pureed Fairy squash can be added to thicken soups and sauces or used in breads, pies, and puddings. Its flavor profiles are similar to butternut squash, thus it can be readily substituted in recipes calling for butternut squash. The blossoms of the Fairy squash plant can be used as well and are ideal for stuffing with soft cheeses and herbs. Classic companion ingredients include butter, brown sugar, rosemary, sage, ginger, chiles, cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans, chestnuts, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, pears, apples, raisins, poultry, and pork. To store keep uncut Fairy squash in a cool, dry place and use within a few months.
A recipe for “Fairy squash pie” by Emma C. Matern appears in the 1905-1906 publication of Boston Cooking School Magazine and later also in the 1920 cookbook put out by Crisco titled, Balanced Daily Diet. The ingredients in the recipes call for “pureed squash”, whether or not this specifically refers to the Fairy squash, or just a general squash is not known, however, the title of the recipes is the earliest record of the name “Fairy squash” that can be found.
The Fairy squash's family, Cucurbita moschata is believed to date back to 5000 B.C. Mexico, and 3000 B.C. Peru. Where the Fairy squash specifically entered the picture is still uncertain, though it is known to be a hybrid type which means it was likely developed sometime in the twentieth century. Today it is grown predominantly in the United States by home and specialty growers. Fairy squashes are an early maturing winter squash, reaching maturity within ninety days. Squash grow on long, trailing vines that can be trellised and provide both a surplus of fruits and blossoms. Fairy squash has a long season and great post-vine storage qualities.
Recipes that include Fairy Squash. One is easiest, three is harder.
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