The gorgeous delicata, or “peanut squash” (so named because of it’s shape), is truly an early autumn treat. Because of its thin skin, the delicata can be susceptible to various diseases and can be easily bruised during harvest – which doesn’t make it a particular favorite of the mass-production squash growers. Only the loving hands of local farmers (I know a couple….) typically produce this dainty early winter squash.
The delicata isn’t a “new” squash; in fact it was introduced in 1894 by the Peter Henderson & Company of New York and remained popular well into the 1920s. Due, in part, to the changes in food harvest and production practices, the delicata fell out of mainstream gardens until very recently. This is one squash I’m sure happy to have back. Thank you, Rodger and Isabelle!
Unlike its winter cousins, the delicate delicata does not need to be peeled before cooking. Some prefer to peel the squash, but I enjoy the slightly chewy texture and subtle flavor it adds to the dish. Delicata can be cooked in the same manner as most squashes – baked, braised, steamed or microwaved. Because of its petite size, it is a most enjoyable squash to roast and then stuff with sautéed vegetables and wild rice or quinoa. It makes perfect individually sized serving dishes to showcase your harvest bounty!