Poor Pumpkin Picking – who knew?

Well, it’s true…there’s an imminent crisis looming in the pumpkin patch, due to heavy rains and poor picking conditions, pumpkin is becoming scarce in the grocery isle. So what’s a cook to do?

Consider it’s close cousins – butternut, acorn, turban or kabocha squash of course! While not completely interchangeable in every recipe, hard winter squashes as a group have many of the same health and culinary properties. This provides us great comfort to us pumpkin fans, as we can make many alternatives to traditional pumpkin favorites by boiling down and pureeing a variety of winter squashes. My personal favorites are butternut and kabocha, which make delicious savory and sweet alternatives.

Rich in beta carotene, high in fiber, loaded with vitamin C – here’s a wonderful, SIMPLE recipe, that uses Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes or Yams that you might like to try:

Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 3/4 lbs. butternut squash (1 medium squash)
1 3/4 lbs. sweet potatoes or yams
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely chopped
dash white pepper
7 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth

1. Cut peel from squash; discard seeds. Peel potatoes. Cut squash and potatoes into 1-inch pieces and place in a 5- to 6-quart pan. Add broth, vinegar, sugar, and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce heat and simmer gently until squash and potatoes are soft enough to mash easily, about 30 minutes.
2. In a food processor or blender, whirl squash mixture, a portion at a time, until smoothly pureed. Return puree to pan and stir often over medium-high heat until steaming. Season with white pepper. Ladle soup into bowls.