Blue Hubbard Squash
Blue hubbard squash: mug shot. (Docman/Creative Commons)
The hubbard squash is the behemoth of the squash world. There's hardly an unsavory 'B' word that doesn't apply to the warty specimen: big, bad, blue, bumpy...you get the idea.
That tough blue exterior has an upside: the thick covering makes hubbard squash a particularly long-storing vegetable, perfect for cold winter months when good fresh produce is hard to come by. You might sometimes find bluehubbard squash sold pre-cut in shops because its gargantuan size can be so unwieldy.
Once you pierce that warty skin, you'll find the sweet side of the Jekyll and Hyde vegetable. The dense, yellow flesh is surprisingly moist, even after long storage, and after you peel off the last of that blue-gray hide, it's ready for a fairy tale transformation.
Squash ready for recipes. (Ourhomeworks/Creative Commons)
How to Tame the Hubbard Squash
While it is possible to cook a hubbard squash whole, the sheer bulk makes it an inconvenience. On the other hand, peeling the tough skin and cubing the monstrosity is practically asking for a knife wound. Your best bet is to carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise, then pierce the skin with a fork several times. Place the squash on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes at 300 degrees.
After pre-baking, let the squash cool, then peel and cut into cubes. You'll find that the preliminary cooking makes the hubbard squash much easier to cut into, with much less danger to your delicate extremities. Your squash is now ready to be steamed, roasted, sautéed or even baked in a pie (four and twenty blackbirds optional.)
Hubbard squash, risotto-style. (HCWoodward/Creative Commons)
How to Cook the Hubbard Squash
Once you've cut the squash down to a manageable size, you're ready for the fun part: cooking it. Hubbard squash recipes represent some of the best cooking styles in the world, as the vegetable is popular in Brazilian, African, Native American and East Indian recipes. Try one of these unique choices to taste the best the squash has to offer.
Cut Blue Hubbard squash and clean out the seeds.
Cut into pieces and place in roaster pan. Add a small amount of water to create
steam. Cover and bake in 350 degree oven for about an hour.
Check with a fork for tenderness.
Lay the pieces out until cool enough to handle, then peel the skin. While still warm, puree in a
Recipe for two 8" pies
4 Cups pureed Blue Hubbard Squash
2 Cups Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
3 Cups Evaporated Milk
Whip eggs, mix with squash, add sugar and spices. If you are baking the pies right away, heat the milk to help keep the crust firm.
Pour into unbaked
pie shells and bake at 425° for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350° and bake for 45 minutes. Test for doneness with a butter knife. This pie is more like a custard pie and is absolutely delicious.
Roasted Hubbard Squash Soup Recipe with Hazelnut and Chives
Giving the squash a spicy rub before roasting gives this soup a complex taste that stands out in a sea of mediocre squash soup recipes. Substitute cayenne pepper for theespelette, and most of the ingredients are probably already in your spice rack.
Hubbard Squash and Pinto Bean Stew Recipe
A hearty stew with the taste of the American southwest, this recipe is super-filling with pinto beans and chunks of hubbard squash in a savory broth with the kick of chipotle chilies. A sprinkling of pepitas keeps the theme solidly in the cooking traditions of the Americas.
Blue Hubbard Squash Risotto Recipe
Any winter squash works well with this rich and creamy risotto, and the hubbard is no exception. This is the perfect recipe for using up your leftover hubbard squash after you make a soup or stew. Feel free to substitute any variety of mushrooms you have available to you.
Yam and Hubbard Squash Gratin Recipe
If you think a gratin recipe is for potatoes only, you owe it to yourself to try this fall-friendly side dish casserole with yams and squash. It makes a festive accompaniment to holiday dinners or a novel addition to a potluck dinner.
Brown Sugar Hubbard Squash Pie Recipe
The sweet, dense flesh of the hubbard squash cooks much like pumpkin, so why not bake some into a pie? This recipe from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette may end up being one you pass around to friends and neighbors --it's got "classic" written all over it.
If you've got a favorite pumpkin or butternut squash recipe, try using hubbard squash instead. Now that the beast has been domesticated, it's sure to become a welcome addition to your family every fall.