KABOCHA SQUASH

Kabocha is a type of winter squash, a Japanese variety of the species Cucurbita maxima. It is also called kabocha squash or Japanese pumpkin in North America. In Japan, "kabocha" may refer to either this squash, to the Western pumpkin, or indeed to other squashes.

Kabocha is hard on the outside with knobbly-looking skin. It is shaped like a squat pumpkin and has a dull-finished, deep-green skin with some celadon-to-white stripes and an intense yellow-orange color on the inside. In many respects it is similar to buttercup

squash, but without the characteristic protruding "cup" on the blossom end.  An average kabocha weighs 2-3 pounds, but a large specimen can weigh as much as 8 pounds.

Kabocha has an exceptional sweet flavor, even sweeter than butternut squash. It is similar in texture and flavor to a pumpkin and sweet potato combined. Some kabocha can taste like Russet potatoes or chestnuts. The rind is edible although some cooks may peel it to speed up the cooking process or to suit their personal taste preferences. Kabocha is commonly utilized in side dishes and soups, or as a substitute for potato or other squash varieties. It can be roasted after cutting the squash in half, scooping out the seeds, and then cutting the squash into wedges. With a little olive oil and seasoning, it can be baked in the oven.

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