Feb 14, 2015

Kabocha for winter

It will be -15 degrees F (-26C) tomorrow. Nothing is growing in my garden. There are some vegetables hibernating under the snow, and the Kabocha I harvested last fall are in our basement. Kabocha is a general term for Japanese winter squash.  Unlike other vegetables, freshness is not important. In fact, it is better to wait at least one month after harvesting as this will increase the sweetness and rich flavor.

The Kabocha  in this photo was harvested on 15 Sep. 2014 and stored until 14 Feb 2015. Since Kabocha can be stored for such a long time, it was a precious preseved food for winter in Japan. We have a custom to eat Kabocha on the winter solstice. It is believed to prevent getting paralysis and colds.

I notice that Kabocha is becoming more popular in many countries,  including USA. I live in a rural area,  but I can sometimes find locally produced Kabocha at a big supermarket and farmer's markets. One thing I should mention here is Kabocha has many different kinds of cultivars which each have distinctive taste.  Grenerally Kabocha sold in the states is a cultivar with green skin and a rounded shape. These are sweeter than butternut squash.

The cultivar I grow every year is called 'Hokkori 133'. It's really nutty flavored with a dry texture and sweet. It's good for grilling, tempura, soup, and more! You can buy  these and other seeds from KITAZAWA SEED CO.

When the stem becomes cork, it's time to harvest.

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