Red Garnet Sweet Potatoes and Baby Blue Hubbard Squash

Each buying club we will feature a different food item with nutritional info, tips, and recipes.

This week the buying club has ordered two special produce items, red garnet sweet potatoes and baby blue hubbard squash.

Red Garnet Sweet Potato

Painting by Janet Rickus

The red garnet sweet potato is darker in color and richer in flavor as well as being larger than a regular sweet potato (sometimes growing to a foot long!) It is quite moist and its orange flesh is described as being “succulent” and having excellent flavor. It can be used to bake, roast, boil, steam, scallop, mash or candy.

Nutrition
The garnet offers a source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamin A, B, C, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and potassium. One-half cup cooked vegetable contains about 103 calories, 1 gram of fat and 3 grams of dietary fiber.

12 Best Foods says:

Packed with more beta carotene than carrots and containing more antioxidant punch than winter squashes, sweet potatoes and the deep orange fleshed variety we call yams are terrific for boosting the immune system, reducing LDL cholesterol and can help fight off age related cataracts and a certain number of cancers. A lower glycemic index makes them a good choice for avoiding insulin resistance and they are loaded with minerals, including potassium; and they have vitamin B,C and folate.

Here is a scrumptious vegan and gluten free recipe from Kate in the Kitchen

Sweet Potato Butter

Wash 4 Beauregard, Garnet or Jewel yams, prick with a fork and coat them lightly with olive oil. Remove the papery layer of 1 medium onion, slice in half and coat with oil. Fold the onion up in a square of foil, add 4 garlic cloves still with paper layers attached. Cover a baking sheet with foil, add yams and onion pack, roasting at 400d until yams can be easily pierced with a fork. Cool, peel and grind yams, onions and garlic in food processor with 1/4 c. olive oil, 4 T. tahini, salt and pepper to taste. Chill well.

~~~

baby blue hubbard squash

The baby blue hubbard winter squash, a rare heirloom variety from 1953, is the perfect choice for an early autumn meal to curl up with as the weather begins to chill. Its deep orange flesh is sweet and nutty and its smaller size makes it easier to cook.

Nutrition
Winter squash is a tasty source of complex carbohydrate (natural sugar and starch) and colon-cancer-fighting fiber.
Winter squash is also a source of potassium, niacin, iron and beta carotene. As a general rule, the deeper the orange color, the higher the beta carotene content. Beta carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A being essential for healthy skin, vision, bone development and maintenance as well as many other functions.

Hubbards can be cooked as any other winter squash but can be more difficult to peel. Here are some tips from the University of Illinois Extension:

Most recipes using these varieties call for cutting the squash in half. Position the squash on a cutting board, stem end facing you. Place the blade of a heavy chef’s knife horizontally along the length of the squash. With a hammer or mallet, repeatedly hit the back of the blade near the handle to drive it into the squash until it breaks in half.

Place the larger varieties (Hubbard and Turk’s Turban) on newspaper and use a sharp cleaver to split the hard-rind open. Or use the chef’s knife method described above. Once you have a slit cut, bang on a hard surface and pull apart. Pieces are easier to peel. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and strings and set aside to roast.

To roast seeds of any squash or pumpkin, first rinse in a strainer and remove any stringy matter. Pat dry on a towel and toss with a little oil, salt, and any spices (fresh thyme is nice). Spread on baking sheets. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and crunchy, 7-15 min. depending on the dampness of the seed.

I find easiest way to cook baby hubbards and other small squashes is to cut in half, remove seeds and bake cut side down in a pan filled with an inch of water at 350 for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove the squash from the oven, empty the pan of water and return squash to the pan, cut side up. Fill squash cavities with butter or margarine, a pinch of salt and a generous scoop of brown sugar. Return to oven and bake 10 more minutes. Yummm! 1 squash feed 2 -4 people (each gets a half or quarter).

Here is more elaborate recipe based on one from fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov:

Winter Squash and Kale Risotto with Pine Nuts

Serves 4

Each serving equals 1 1/8 cups of fruit or vegetables

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup of Arborio or short-grained rice
2 Tbsp pine nuts
4 cups of vegetable broth
10 oz. peeled and diced winter squash, fresh or frozen and thawed slightly
2 cups fresh kale, finely chopped

Heat oil in a large, shallow saucepan over medium heat. Add salt, onion and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes.

Stir in rice and pine nuts and toast for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add ½ cup broth; cook on medium-low heat, stirring often, until liquid is nearly absorbed. Add 1½ c more broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring often until each addition is nearly absorbed before adding the next.

Add diced squash, and ½ cup of broth, stirring often. Add remaining broth, ½ cup at a time as before. Along with the last ½ cup of broth, add the kale. Cook mixture until all broth is absorbed and kale is soft and bright green.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 336, Fat 6g, Calories From Fat 16%, Carbohydrates 62g, Protein 8g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 6g, Sodium 195mg.

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