‘Tis season for decorating with funky-shaped squashes and oddly patterned gourds.
(Content warning on link: swearing)
We are all on our plastic free “journey” and your thought might have turned to seasonal decorating. Gourds are great for that. No Plastic. Will compost. But have you ever looked at a Martha Stewart inspired display and thought: Can I eat this? Just me?
But unlike pumpkins, which can easily be turned into pie are these gourds straight off the pumpkin patch actually okay to eat? Sold at grocery and convenience stores across America, it seems odd that something so vegetable-like would be cultivated and harvested to be used only as decoration. Part of the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes squash, watermelons and cucumbers, gourds are not toxic to humans, though those sold for decoration may need a good wash before being consumed. I turned to the experts to see if these autumnal decorations can actually be converted into tasty seasonal delights.
Early Whitebush, looks “like a white ghost”, roast this tender and softer (you’ll notice it’s not as shiny as other gourds, which is good) gourd to get soft flesh and use it in a miso banana squash bread, which is prime for breakfast. Or you can .. • Pan Fry• Grill• Steam• Saute• Bake• Roast• Shred
The Turk’s Turban, which is also not super hard, is great in soup. You can also sliced it and fried it Japanese-style as tempura, or Indian-style, with chickpea flour and turmeric, like pakora.
Bottle Gourd, which looks like “a green giant fat eggplant or enormous cucumber,” can be used in a Thai-style squash curry, with coconut milk, red curry paste, ginger, lemongrass and fish sauce.
Don't neglect the seeds!
Similar to pumpkins, gourds also have seeds, which are “delicious,” For some of the tougher seeds, you can toast them and cook them like risotto with chicken stock or vegetable stock, and mix in onions, garlic, butter and Parmesan cheese, which sounds almost too perfect for a crisp October night. If I thought I could do this without burning my apartment down and it’s a low carb alternative to risotto.
Another secret use for gourds: Seasoning
Poke holes in the squash as it sun dries and expect a flavor similar to squash seed oil or pumpkin seed oil when using the dried gourds to season your winter stews.
Don’t throw those decorative gourds away — there’s a tasty winter ahead of you, all thanks to Halloween decor.