What’s in Season? Apples & Winter Squash
By Barbara Kobsar | Illustrations by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge
New-harvest apples are here, and the varieties are crisp, juicy, and plentiful. While Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji, and Honeycrisp remain all-time favorites, I’m ready to enjoy some of the more intriguing heirloom varieties such as these:
I won’t pass up the Hubbardston Nonesuch. Under mottled green-orange-red skin, its crisp-yet-tender white flesh has a rich and spicy bite. Arkansas Black, with its dark-red skin and sweet-tart taste, is ideal for your cheeseboard. The Pink Pearl apple flaunts its surprising pink insides when cut open. Highly aromatic and juicy, it’s perfect for making gorgeous rose-colored sauces and flavorful pies.
The sturdiness of these members of the cucurbit or gourd family helps them store well for year-round availability, but fall is when most are harvested, so it’s the best time to appreciate them.
Delicata squash is loved for its small size and thin, edible skin. Cut it crosswise into ½-inch-thick rings, remove the seeds, and place rings on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake at 425°F for 10 to 12 minutes until bottoms of slices are browned and squash is tender. The slices also do well in a sauté pan or on the grill. Serve topped with parmesan cheese or chopped rosemary.
Looking for a pasta substitute? Cut up a spaghetti squash and steam the chunks until they’re tender enough that the long, spaghetti-like strands can be separated with a fork. Dress it up with a fresh marinara sauce and dinner is ready.
Easy to peel, the butternut squash offers a smooth texture and sweet, nutty flavor that make it perfect to purée for soups, pies, cakes, and breads.
The ribs on a deep-green or golden acorn squash make it hard to peel, but this sweet and slightly fibrous squash is beautiful when stuffed or used like an individual serving bowl as in this Creamy Squash & Apple Soup.
Veteran journalist and cookbook author Barbara Kobsar focuses on traditional home-cooked meals using local produce. Find her at the Walnut Creek, Orinda, and San Ramon farmers’ markets selling her Cottage Kitchen jams and jellies made from farmers’ market produce.
Artist Charmaine Koehler-Lodge grows most of her family’s food in their rural Pennsylvania garden.