Squash Wars: Blue Banana

IMG_1921.JPG Blue Banana squash was listed as a superior-tasting cousin to the more popular (but still not that common) Pink Banana squash in The Compleat Squash by Amy Goldman Fowler. I don’t totally trust this beautiful book, taste-wise, since she says Nippon Island squash is ornamental and barely edible and it’s one of my favourites and tastes like a delicious plantain. In this case, though, she was right. This squash is a good argument for foregoing the conveniently-sized one-person squashes that are increasingly taking over the squash market and just going for a behemoth because you know they are the old-fashioned ones bred for flavour. I’ve been eating slices of it at almost every meal since the farmer’s market on Saturday. This includes breakfast. The only tragedy is that I can’t get another. I went through something just to get this one.

At the last outdoor market of the season, I remembered seeing some Pink Banana squashes, and considering getting one but deciding not to, since I had a lot of squash at home as it was, and I figured I could always get one next week. The next week the market was indoors and I couldn’t find the seller again. Some of them don’t come to the winter markets, so I wasn’t sure they were there. The following week, though, I was on a mission to find really good squash. I decided to ask around to see if someone from The Stop could identify the seller that had the squash. Maybe they were hiding their large squashes? Or hadn’t brought them due to indoor space constraints? I described the stand and its location in detail, but the person I asked had no clue. The conversation was coming to a close and I was going to try asking someone else until I mentioned that they had had a lot of heirloom tomatoes in the summer, and then she perked up and pointed me to the table right across from her. Disappointingly they only had a few small acorn squash on display – boring. I decided to ask anyway, and the person I talked to directed me to someone else at the table. I asked about the Pink Banana squash and she pointed at her pies. They hadn’t sold well, and many had soft spots so she had cooked them all. She said there might be one at home, and she would check, but she wasn’t hopeful. I walked away but then turned around and asked about Blue Bananas. I am not sure why. She brightened and said they had planted them but harvested only one single fruit. Then she said she’d bring it for me the next week! Then she remembered and followed through, to my surprise. It was totally worth it. I promised to report back re: the flavour next week.

This was definitely in the top squash I have ever tasted in my life – sweet but not overly sweet, a buttery texture in the syrupy meat near the seed cavity and savoury powdery flesh near the skin. It doesn’t need to be turned into soup or have anything added to it at all. I’ve eaten 2/3 of the squash and every bite has just be baked with nothing at all added – no oil, salt, tahini sauce or whatever. Eat it if you can find it!

 

Edit: Oh, and the seeds are giant, and the guts are dry and sparse. Perfection.

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