Squash Wars: Black Futsu

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Black Futsu, aka Futtsu, is a tasty little squash that, according to a seed saving pro who I met on PEI, matures on her cool Cape Breton farm where other winter squash doesn’t. I had wanted to try it for a while when I noticed it at the farmer’s market last year, ignored among the more conventional butternut and acorn squash. I talked to the grower about it enthusiastically enough that it caught the attention of other people around me, who then showed an interest. The grower told me that she cooks it by throwing the whole thing in the oven without cutting it open, so that’s what I tried – it has just a thin skin, which is edible, and not too much in the way of guts. The flesh is thin too, so cooking it whole doesn’t take long.

I went back every week to buy Black Futsu until the grower warned me that they were on their last couple of squashes that week, and promised to grow them again the next year.

This year I went back to the same farm table and was sad to see that they only have acorn squash. Happily, I noticed one single Black Futsu at the same table where I got my Blue Banana, so I grabbed it up.

With the one Black Futsu I have so far this year, I decided to halve it and bake it like I normally do with other squash, rather than cooking it whole. My only issue with cooking it whole is that the seeds aren’t as tasty, and I like the dryness of the flesh when it’s baked open.

Black Futsu is slightly sweet and has its own flavour – it’s not terribly different from other squash, but complex, good and a little more savoury than sweet. Maybe “nutty” would be an OK description, but not, say,  the distinctly hazelnut flavour of some Turban squash.

Lately I’ve been dehydrating squash seeds in my food dehydrator rather than toasting them, and I am totally sold on this method: I just rinse them (sometimes), add a little salt and throw them in for 8 hours or so, on a low-ish heat (labelled as nuts/seeds on my dehydrator). They end up crisp and delicious, especially when they are warm straight from the dehydrator. Plus no worries about burning them, and no added oil. I ate a whole cup of them as a snack one night after coming home from seeing Dirty Dancing live in the theatre.

 

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