Squash Wars: Mystery Ontario Squash

photoThere is a giant squash I have been seeing in all the little markets around Toronto. It looks like a flattened, ribbed, green and orange pumpkin. Even before Hallowe’en, I knew it was primarily an eating squash, not a decorative one, because it’s usually sold cut into roasting-sized chunks. I don’t know its name and have never seen it anywhere other than here but it seems to be everywhere in Toronto.

I figured I needed to try it, since it was so popular, and potentially some sort of regional heirloom gem, so I bought a hunk of it the other day and baked it up. It seemed like it was taking forever for it to soften up – I waited and waited, and finally decided it must be time to eat, since it was starting to look like it was drying up rather than cooking more. I wasn’t hopeful, since it still seemed firm and didn’t look like the sugars had caramelized on top at all or anything. But then I realized why: it’s another form of spaghetti squash, even though the flesh is a deep orange. It tastes like spaghetti squash, but the strands are coarser. I took a picture of some smaller specimens of the squash in a market, since the small chunk I bought isn’t that photogenic. I would say … worth eating if you like spaghetti squash (which I really do), but that different or earth-shattering. Anyone know what this squash is called? It’s not in my favourite squash reference book The Compleat Squash.

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