Squash and pumpkins
Jenny Thull shares her experiences and expertise:
• Buying: Her favorites include Speckled Hound (“sweet, the perfect thing for pumpkin pie”); Australian Butter (“the texture of crème brûlée, needs no sugar”); Marina di Chioggia, (“perfect for gnocchi”); and the Japanese ones generally labeled Chiriman (“cook one now and then let others ‘tan up’ till March”). She also likes Honey Bear Acorn, the butternut-like Rogosa Violina and the Baby Blue Hubbard for pumpkin flavor. They’re available while supplies last at the AppleHouse, and seeds can be ordered online (see below).
• Choosing: When a green squash such as acorn has orange/tan spots, “that’s sugar pushing out, so those are sweeter and tastier.” The same for the tiny bumps seen on many squashes and pumpkins.
• Growing your own: She loves the Baker Creek Seed Co. (150 varieties of squash, heavily based in heirlooms, and “the best-quality seeds for germinating”), rareseeds.com; and San Francisco-based Kitazawa (“beautiful stuff from Japan;”), kitazawaseed.com. For those with compact spaces, the Honey Bear Acorn Squash has a bush habit and fits in tight quarters.
• Storing: The Thulls use metal shelves in a cool, darkish, low-humidity space and put towels underneath the fruits in case they rot (“not a good smell”).