Squash Wars: Turban

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For a while I was searching all over the place for a Turban squash and coming up with nothing. This was surprising and annoying as it’s a popular and (usually) easy-to-find squash that is delicious, so it should be about as easy as Butternut to track down. Even more frustrating was that early in my search I did happen to come across one at a farmer’s market and almost bought it until I saw a squash I couldn’t identify, asked the grower about it, and he sold me on its deliciousness. It was the worst squash I have had this year: just what I would expect to find if I bought some random acorn squash or something grown in another continent and shipped to Superstore. It was sweet but bland; I used it for soup, and kicked myself for not getting the Turban squash as my search for it stretched out.

Finally I found a Turban at a mid-size non-chain grocery store. I had actually looked there before, but hadn’t realized I had only looked at their organic squash section; this was not organic, but at least was Ontario-grown. This Turban squash didn’t have the intense hazelnut flavour of one I had in Vancouver last year. It also didn’t have the hard shell almost impossible to cut through without a cleaver, so I suspect it was not fully mature. It was still deliciously sweet and flavourful, though, as long as it was baked at 450 until soft as butter.

I found a harder-skinned Turban squash at the same store the other day, buying it with the hope that it has the same nutty flavour as that one from last year. It’s very good but sadly no nuttiness. Turban is one of those surprising squashes that look so interesting that you assume they weren’t necessary bred for flavour. People use them as ornamentals pretty often, and their shape isn’t as convenient to cut as some others. But they are uniquely delicious at best, and even at worst (in my opinion) are as good as Butternut (which is really good in my books).

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