Sunday, May 29, 2011
NEW CROP OF CERTIFIED ORGANIC KABOCHA PUMPKINS NOW AVAILABLE
A great result - over 300 Kabocha Certified Organic pumpkins harvested this year!
Kabocha is a Japanese variety of winter squash. The word kabocha has come to mean a general type of winter squash to many English-speaking growers and buyers. In some cultures it is revered as an aphrodisiac. Kabocha is commonly called Japanese pumpkin in Australia and New Zealand. In Japan, the word kabocha may refer to either this squash or to the Western-style pumpkin.
It's popular for its strong yet sweet flavor and moist, fluffy texture, which is like chestnuts.
CHARACTERISTICS: Kabocha is hard, has knobbly-looking skin, is shaped like a squatty pumpkin, and has a dull finished deep green skin with some celadon-to-white stripes and an intense yellow-orange colour on the inside. An average kabocha weighs 1-1 ½ kgs but can weigh as much as 4 kgs.
It has an exceptional naturally sweet flavour, even sweeter than butternut squash. It is similar in texture and flavor to a pumpkin and a sweet potato combined. Like other squash-family members, it is commonly mixed in side dishes and soups or anywhere pumpkin, potato, or other squash would be. It is a common ingredient in vegetable tempura and can be made into soup.
NUTRITION: It is rich in beta carotene with iron, vitamin C, potassium and smaller traces of calcum, folic acid, and minute amounts of B vitamins.
RIPENING: When kabocha is just harvested, it is still growing. Therefore, unlike other vegetables and fruits, freshness is not as important. It should be fully matured first, in order to become flavourful. First, kabocha is ripened in a warm place (25°C) for 13 days, during which some of the starch converts to carbohydrate content. Then it is transferred to a cool place (10°C) and stored for about a month in order to increase its carbohydrate content. In this way the just-harvested, dry, bland-tasting kabocha is transformed into smooth, sweet kabocha. Fully ripened, succulent kabocha will have reddish-yellow flesh and a hard skin with a dry, corky stem. It reaches the peak of ripeness about 1.5–3 months after it is harvested.