Introducing Kuri Squash!

Don’t you just love this time of year?? As soon as I know Halloween is coming, I am swept up in a haze of orange that informs my every artistic endeavor through Thanksgiving (whereupon the palette will morph to reds and greens). The small table above, which graces my kitchen, has been standing as homage to the season. The afghan-turned-tablecloth, flipped upside down to its earthy, orangey-red and golden hues, bears witness to the bounty of fall. Five squashes have greeted me as I enter the kitchen: the homegrown pumpkins, the supermarket smaller versions, used as decoration and (ta da!) the kuri squash, a new and highly recommended addition to my fall repertoire!

One of the perks of visiting Oak Hill Farm was my introduction to kuri squash, which is that large orange ribbed squash sitting on the left in the photo above. Perhaps some of you are familiar with it but I was not. Apparently it’s known by a variety of names including Japanese squash, orange hokkaido and uchiki kuri squash, and it would appear we have the Japanese to thank for its development. I’m certain I was ready to try this squash because of its seeming similarity to pumpkin. What I had not anticipated was that I am finding it a far superior squash to pumpkin, and I was most anxious to share the good news with you, hoping you will be able to find it among your local farmer’s markets and give it a try!

The kuri squash that is in the above photo has since been poked with an apple corer [the thought of an exploding squash in my oven gives me great pause] and was baked in a 375 degree F. oven for over an hour, until being stabbed with a fork met with no resistance. I removed it from the oven and allowed it to cool slightly, and then was delighted to find the skin could be pulled off very easily. I sliced it in quarters, removed the seeds and popped the quarters in the Cuisinart. I was utterly amazed to discover that the puree was undoubtedly THE best squash I have ever eaten in my life. I didn’t even want to adulterate it with any seasonings whatsoever. No. I wanted to sit down with a spoon and feast on it, is what I wanted to do. Oh, YUM! Unbelieveably sweet and refined. I refrained from my hungry pangs as I recognized immediately how delicious it would be as a baked alternative to traditional sweet potatoes (no need to add the sugar!) and measured out the puree into two equal portions of two cups each and spooned each portion into freezer bags, saved for Christmas, when Antonia will be coming up and celebrating the holiday with me. (Yay!)

So I called my Darling Daughter and told her at length of the virtues of kuri squash and promised her if I ran into any more in the near future I would send one down. Ask and ye shall receive. Yesterday when I ventured down to a (larger) farmer’s market in Sonoma County I was delighted to find an organic farmer with an abundance of kuri squashes! Hallelujah!

I’ve already popped the smaller one in the oven as I’m dying to try combining two recipes to “see if it works”–and if it does, I promise to share Thanksgiving week. And the second one will go in a box and sent down to Darling Daughter, as she plans to cook a turkey for friends.

May the spirit of the holidays be gracing your hearts and homes. I leave you with an image from the front of my house. I light them each morning to cheer early morning risers and each evening to kindle the spirit of the season.

Love and season’s blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

32 Responses to “Introducing Kuri Squash!”

  1. These sound divine, and are such a beautiful deep orange. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for one ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hi, Amy, I do hope you are able to find them. I’ll be curious to see how far and wide they are known.
    Kathryn xox

  3. An absolutely beautiful blog. A feast for the heart and for the eyes. Thank you. I was very moved by what your are doing and the way you present information. You are a true artist. I am just starting my own blog and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Haven’t yet figured out my “niche”. You have set a good pace. Keep up the good work, sharing your wisdom. Ellen

  4. Welcome, Ellen. I’m deeply touched by your kind words. Thank you so much. Enjoy your blog process!
    Kathryn xox

  5. We have a wonderful supplier for squash and they recommended this particular variety to us a few weeks ago. Since we already have a hefty stockpile, we decided to wait until next week to purchase two. Upon your recommendation, we will definitely be enjoying it as part of our squash mash (rather than potatoes) this holiday season.

  6. Hi,Guyz! Great! Please let me know how you end up preparing, will you? It’s such a smooth consistency on its own it doesn’t really need any liquid, I found. Maybe if you mash and not use the Cuisinart, perhaps this will mean it might need a bit. Like, coconut milk? It’s sweet. Don’t think salt. (And don’t think butter. And don’t think sugar, either!) Though if I were not eating super-clean right now (which I pretty much am) I might consider putting marshmallows on top of the puree and just putting that in the oven. Hmmmm…. (Nah.)
    I found a recipe for kuri custard. So many options, so little time… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Enjoy! Kathryn xoxo

  7. Hi Kathryn…even though I have just recently “become acquainted” , I’m recognizing you as an inspirational person to others. I think that is your purpose.
    I shall be on the lookout for a Kuri squash, and also, plan to get my table with it. I could then inspire myself!
    Also, I sent a link to your blog on the scarf initiative to Martha Stewart at her blog…we’ll see if she responds…and if she does, think of me.
    Jeannie

  8. Good morning Kathryn! Kuri squash are absolutely delicious. I suspect many who don’t think they like like squash would enjoy Kuri. It’s more delicious than any other squash I’ve ever had. I’ve already ordered some Kuri squash seeds for my new veggie bed, along with some trellising so I can fit them into my small bed. I’m going to try Lakota too, which seems to be similar to Kuri. The skin on Lakota is green and orange, but otherwise they look much like Kuri. I hope they taste as good too.

    Seeds for Kuri squash aren’t that easy to find, and finding the squash around here isn’t easy either. Last year I found one, but none this year. That’s one of the wonderful things about veggie gardening – growing delicious veggies that are difficult if not impossible to find at local stores and markets. Hopefully I’ll have a nice little crop, and I’ll definitely be saving some seeds. I’m having visions of Kuri squash dancing in my head – even better than sugar plums!

  9. Dear Jeannie, Gosh. Thank you so very much. What a lovely note to wake up to this morning. I’m touched that you find inspiration here and honored you would think to let Martha’s team know. And if they respond, believe me, I will be thinking of you with a big smile on my face. It’s there now. Kathryn xox

  10. Welcome, Linda! I totally agree–best squash I’ve ever had (and I’m not a big fan of those small summer squashes) and you make a good point–so many people would be surprised and delighted! And you are bringing to my attention that I’d better be asking my daughter to save some of those seeds! Thanks for the heads up. What a pity. This squash should be a national treasure and daily fare. (I wonder what else we are missing??) ๐Ÿ™‚ Kathryn xox

  11. Kuri squash! I look forward to trying that. I like that this is perfect on its own without sugar or butter,etc. We do eat a lot of seasoned food, but I also enjoy the natural flavors of food. I was tickeled that when you found something new and wanted more of it, suddenly there is Kuri squash everywhere!
    ๐Ÿ™‚
    I loved the beautiful table display. We have a table that leads out to the garden. Anything that we want to take down there like books and seed packets are displayed in an old fahioned trug. I loved all the colors you have shown, along with a treasured photo and a flower mandala!
    The light strings you have look so cheery!
    ๐Ÿ™‚
    Philip

  12. LOL! Hi, Philip! Well, at least in abundance at the Santa Rosa Farmer’s Market! It certainly did “show up”! And grateful I am. Yes, try it! I bet you can get it at your big market downtown! Aww, you noticed the photo of me and Darling Daughter. And,yes, I have recreated the squash mandala several times now (same squash)! In that photo it has green hydrangea all around it and currently that bowl is full of nandina berries, pyracantha berries and floating candles. I tried to include in this post but the candles ended up looking liked eggs, my critical eye thought, but maybe I will try again. Thanks for the visit! Kathryn xoxo

  13. Very nice post Kathryn, Kuri Squash… it sounds so delicious when you describe it. A love growing my own vegetables and I looked up Kuri in the new ‘ Plant of distinction’ catalog and found a Red Kuri! Very pretty and it says it is one of the best. Got to try it. Thank you for sharing / Tyra

  14. Hi, Tyra! Glad you could find. Hope you can find seeds! I managed to find kuri (again!) at my local health food store yesterday, and bought a small one specifically for the seeds. They were not in the seed catalogue I searched yesterday. So we shall see how available they are. Good luck! Kathryn xox

  15. Ohhh what a feast for the senses! Your table displayes the riches of the season and that squash makes me hungry!!! Lovely post, Kim

  16. Welcome, Kim! You have such a nice tract of land–hope you try kuri next year! Thanks! Kathryn xoxo

  17. Well … I adore squash and waiting with either fork or spoon in hand to taste, dear Kathryn. Happy Thanksgiving to you and loved ones. Autumn (hugs).

  18. Hi, Joey–Given your culinary skills I can’t wait to see what you come up with for kuri squash! I saw a recipe today for stuffing them! Thanks for the visit! Kathryn xoxo

  19. I’ll have to see if I can locate kuri squash. I’ll be preparing a Thanksgiving meal. By the way, your table is just beautiful. I notice a photograph of someone special? Is it you and a daughter?

  20. Hi, Shady G, I hope you can find the kuri squash. You might look for it by another name, but it’s wonderful color is the biggest giveaway. Glad you like the table. It’s always changing and cheers me in the kitchen.
    Yes, photo is my Darling Daughter and I. Kathryn xox

  21. Wonderful article on the scarf initiative!
    front page online version
    http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Just stumbled over your blog while seeking kuri squash seed source. Nice!

    For your info, and several of your readers, Kuri squash is supposed to be available at Seeds for Change, under the name of “Uchiki Kuri”. I’m about to order some – about 15 seeds, $3.69 + postage, I think.

    Website http://www.seedsofchange.com

    Try Google for other possible sources. Incidentally, Google has references to good-sounding recipes for Kuri squash.

    Good luck – and good eatin’ Bob Loveless

    Good luck.

  23. Hi,Bob, Thanks for giving us the name of kuri squash at Seeds of Change. I happen to have an entire bottle full of seeds, thanks. But, yes, there will be people searching! Kathryn xoxo

  24. I discovered Kuri Squash today at the supermarket (Von’s). I was looking for banana squash, but what a delight to bring my lovely orange Kuri home and cook it in the microwave, take out the seeds, and add Stevia, vanilla & cinnamon. I’ll have it for dinner tonight! Thanks for telling us about YOUR discovery.

  25. Hi, Welda! Welcome! I think kuri squash is happily on the rise! I saw some in Safeway recently! Hurray! Bet it becomes a staple in our homes within a couple of years. Lucky us. Thanks for sharing! Kathryn xoxo

  26. […] Plant Whatever Brings You Joy […]

  27. I’ve been buying kuri squash at Wild Oats in Denver for several years. WO was bought last year by Whole Foods. The Whole Foods produce guy at my store told me they’d no longer carry kuris as there’s “not enough interest in them.” Sigh. Does anyone know if they’ll grow in Denver’s climate? I have the space and the interest in trying them….

  28. Welcome, Carolyne! I can understand your frustration. I also have felt the frustration of discovering this whole other line of delicious squashes that few mainstream markets seem interested in exploring. I was aware Wild Oats was bought up by Whole Foods. If I were in your shoes I’d be writing to Whole Foods corporate office and ask them to consider carrying kuri and why. I don’t know if CO has a long enough growing season to sustain a squash like kuri. Perhaps if you started it from seed indoors and gave it a running start and then put it in the sunniest location you have access to? Good luck! Let me know! Kathryn xoox

  29. I obtained some heirloom Kuri squash seeds during a ceremonial seed exchange last spring..these plants are amazing. I have 4 plants, that stretch over a space of about 30 feet in diameter..so far..they are escaping the garden. We harvested a couple of little ones the other day and they are delicious…I also have tomatillos growing wild…somehow…I didn’t plant any..

  30. Hi, Vicki! Lucky you! They are not that easy to come by. Late as it is I have several starter plants I’m just putting in the ground. I’m hoping that they will take off before the rains come in. I think they will! I know exactly what you mean about escaping the garden and I can’t wait to say same. They are truly my favorite squash. Delicious! Good for you for planting them! Kathryn xoxo

  31. Just in the process of harvesting (and eating). You can’t beat Red Kuri in any category -flavour, texture etc. This is now my favorite squash by far!
    Try this recipe: Clean and peel and cut in approx 1″ tranches. Melt butter and arrange tranches in tray. Arrange peach (mango also works) slices on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar and some orange juice cover with foil and bake in oven. Sorry I don’t keep precise measurements as I just throw things together as I am an instinctive man cook.
    The result will be spectacular as you will end up with a “candied” squash product that has the texture of some of the taste of sweet potato. Tastes good cold also!

  32. Hi, Lou and welcome! Thank you for this delicious recipe! It sounds perfect for the upcoming holidays! Kathryn xoxo

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