delicata 2

Not really into talking while checking out at the grocery store (I hate waiting in line while listening to the person in front of me casually chatting to the clerk), I was amazed to find myself discussing squash during my last trip to Whole Foods. Honestly, I was bagging while Tom was paying—not a soul was inconvenienced by our conversation. But squash is new for me, and it was new for the clerk. She said delicata was her favorite and she was just getting into squash. I asked her if she’d tried spaghetti, my favorite, then we laughed about how we’re adults and have only now tried this very basic, versatile vegetable.

I found a gazillion ways to cook delicata, choosing to slice it into rounds—like little flowers. I just roasted the squash after brushing with a little olive oil and giving it a hit of salt and pepper. Why not see what the bugger tastes like before I go messin’ with it?

What’s cool about this one is that its skin is thin enough to eat. After tonight’s experiment, I can see this cubed up and roasted as part of a big ol’ pan of roasted vegetables, one of my favorite things to do in the fall, or thrown in a pilaf. And as with other winter squash, delicata serves up a whole mess of vitamin A, a bunch of B vitamins, and some minerals, including copper (for healthy skin), potassium, and folate (for healthy babies, if you’re into that).

What’s Cooking America has this huge illustrated list of winter squash, detailing availability and characteristics to look for. It could use a copy editor, but the information’s great. Turns out, a lot of those crazy-colored things can be eaten. Here I thought they were just nature’s Halloween decorations.

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