Rich sweet potato tasting flavor, vines are short. Excellent for stuffing or baking.
Delicata Squash History
Delicata squash belong to the same species as acorn and spaghetti squash. The vegetable was popular in the early 20th century. However, its vulnerability to disease and yield problems led to its demise in popularity. Unlike other winter squash, delicata rind is not very tough and is edible. It is easily recognizable due to its dark green stripes, cream-colored skin and elongated shape. Varieties include the award-winning disease-resistant “Cornell’s Bush Delicata” developed at Cornell University, “Sweet Dumpling” which is good stuffed, “Sugar Loaf,” an oval-shaped variety and ”Honey Boat,” which is very sweet.
Growing Delicata Squash
Delicata squash grow in numerous climates, including U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 10. They are vine plants and need space to spread as they grow. Seeds need warm soil, at a temperature of least 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, to germinate. The best time to plant seeds is after any chance of frost in early spring. Seeds planted too soon will rot, and frost will kill seedlings. Seeds fare best in full sun and planted in well-draining soil that contains organic matter such as compost and placed about three-fourths of an inch in the ground. Plants become mature after approximately 80 to 100 days.
Preserving And Storing Delicata Plants
When you start harvesting winter squash, you might end up with some that are nicked or missing stems, and therefore won’t be good candidates for long-term storage. This might add up to more than you can eat at once, so preserve them by freezing a purée. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds out. Roast in a 350-degree-F oven until soft, usually about 45 minutes. Remove squash from the oven, and allow to cool. Scoop out the inside flesh, and mash it with a fork or purée in a food processor until smooth. Measure and pack purée into freezer bags for future use. We find that packing in 6-cup quantities is a good size for making soup. One average-sized butternut squash will make about six cups purée.
Harvesting Delicata Squash
Cut the fruits from the vines with a pair of pruners or a sharp knife. Don’t try to pull or twist the fruits from the vines. Trust me. Leave at least two to three inches of stem on each squash. Don’t rush it – handle each squash carefully to avoid bruising or damaging the fruits. Never hold or carry a squash by its stem. If you do accidentally damage the fruit or break off the stem, use that squash soon. Don’t place it in storage as it will be more prone to rot.
Delicata squash is a winter squash that doesn’t get enough attention. Its small size makes it much easier to handle than other squashes and it cooks much faster. When roasted, the squash gets creamy and sweet and we can’t get over how cute the flower shaped slices are!
Squash is low in calories but high in many nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. It is an excellent source of provitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. he high antioxidant content of butternut squash may reduce your risk of certain conditions, including heart disease, lung cancer, and mental decline. Squash is low in calories and packed with fiber — making it a great choice for any healthy weight loss plan.
Other Squash Varieties Worth Checking Out
Boston Marrow is extremely rare. The origins of the variety are a bit unclear; some claim that it was a Native American variety that was gifted to European settlers. Others believe it was originally of Chilean origin.
Vegetable Spaghetti Squash fruits range in color from ivory to yellow to orange. When raw the flesh is solid like all squash, but when cooked the flesh falls away from the fruits in spaghetti-like strands. A great eating squash. Try topping with tomato sauce or butter and brown sugar.