Farmers Market for Oct. 3, 2013

Farmers are now harvesting cushaw squash. To prepare cushaw wash the outside of the squash and cut squash into large chunks. Remove the seeds. Place the chunks of squash with the cut side down in large baking pan. Pour water into the pan to a depth of about 3 inches. Cover the squash with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes or until squash pieces are soft enough to be pierced easily with a fork. Replenish water in pan, if needed, as the squash pieces cook. Once the squash pieces are tender, remove from oven. Drain away the remaining water. Remove the squash peeling and discard. Put the squash in a bowl. You can use the squash in recipes calling for pumpkin or butternut squash. The squash can be frozen, but it does lose a lot of its taste and texture because it tends to get watery when defrosted. It's better to fully cook a cushaw dish befoe freezing. (Photo by DEREK FITCH) Show caption
Farmers are now harvesting cushaw squash. To prepare cushaw wash the outside of the squash and cut squash into large chunks. Remove the seeds. Place the chunks of squash with the cut side down in large baking pan. Pour water into the pan to a depth of about 3 inches. Cover the squash with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes or until squash pieces are soft enough to be pierced easily with a fork. Replenish water in pan, if needed, as the squash pieces cook. Once the squash pieces are tender, remove from oven. Drain away the remaining water. Remove the squash peeling and discard. Put the squash in a bowl. You can use the squash in recipes calling for pumpkin or butternut squash. The squash can be frozen, but it does lose a lot of its taste and texture because it tends to get watery when defrosted. It's better to fully cook a cushaw dish befoe freezing. (Photo by DEREK FITCH)

October is the month for winter squash of all types, including Louisiana favorite cushaw.

There are several types of cushaw, but the most common here are large fruit with green and white stripes and come in an assortment of shapes. The flesh is fiberous and yellow and, like all squash, it bears a handful of seeds in its rounded belly.

Cushaw are new world squash that originated in the south of Mexico. They are traditionally served like many other winter squashes, baked, cooked in pies, or pure ├ęd into smooth, creamy soups. Smaller specimens may be used as fall decorations, with the striking green color complementing the usual bright orange pumpkins.

Winter squash are not named for the months when they are grown but for the fruit’s ability to be stored during the winter months, thanks to their harder outer skins. Typically larger than their warm-weather counterparts, other winter squash include butternut squash, acorn squash and hubbard squash.