Thursday, November 30, 2017

Squash Sagra: Get Your Squash On This Weekend!

Quick quiz:
  1. When was the last time you ate squash? How was it prepared?
  2. When was the last time you bought a whole squash?
  3. How many varieties can you name (besides acorn and butternut)?
For answers to these and other squash-related questions, you should plan to attend the Squash Sagra, a festival devoted to all things squash this Sunday, December 3, from 11 am to 3 pm at The Redd on Southeast 9th and Salmon St.

Musquée de Provence.

The Sagra—local festival in Italian—is free and open to the public in conjunction with the annual Fill Your Pantry event hosted by Friends of Family Farmers. Local chefs will be handing out samples of squash dishes they've prepared, sharing recipes and discussing flavors and culinary uses of the diverse varieties of squash grown locally. Farmers will be offering a wide array of vegetables, beans and grains for purchase on-site, so there'll be something for everyone.

Kabocha squash.

You'll also have the opportunity to learn about the four categories of squash: sweet squash perfect for desserts, baked goods and pastries; simple squash that can be baked or steamed with no added ingredients; salad squash with their excellent flavor and texture when eaten raw; and saucy squash that are ideal for sauces, soups or curries. (See the Eat Winter Squash website for more info and photos.)

Black futsu.

There'll be a squash butchery booth where chef Tim Wastell will share pro tips and techniques for cutting up and storing the larger squash varieties. Uprising Seeds, Washington state's first 100% organic seed company, will be demonstrating a European seed oil press to make your own seed oils. There'll be a kids' play area for younger folk to taste samples of these delectable cucurbits and learn about how squash grow. And of course there's the ubiquitous Photo Booth where you can cuddle up to the cucurbit of your choice and take home a photo that'll prove your love.

"I've been wanting to do a sagra like this for a long time," said Lane Selman of the Culinary Breeding Network, one of the sponsors of the sagra. "Hopefully people will get really inspired and learn a lot about the different categories of squash that are grown in our area."

Get my recipes for squash soup, squash pie and squash risotto. Even squash sorbet (it's delicious, I promise)!

Top photo by Shawn Linehan featuring Lane Selman of the Culinary Breeding Network admiring a Doran Round Butternut squash from Adaptive Seeds Farm. 

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