By Chef John Zehnder, CEC, ACE, HGT, AAC
As we approach fall, many of our guests begin to ask when we’ll start to serve squash. Normally we wait until the first frost to pick squash – much easier to see them and to navigate through the fields when the elephant ear size squash leaves wilt back. The Fred Weiss family has grown Blue Hubbard squash for Zehnder’s since the early 1960’s. Their farm is just south of Frankenmuth on Block Road. Blue Hubbards are large pod shaped squash, blue/grey in color and weigh in at 25 to 30 lbs. Hubbards tend to be more firm like a buttercup squash versus, for example, the wetter acorn or butternut varieties.
They’re ideal for large quantity users like us who go through 40,000 lbs. during our autumn and holiday seasons. Funny story…in the original 1950’s version of the campy “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” Blue Hubbards were used as the alien life form pods. How movie special effects have changed since then! Like most fresh products – simple cooking procedures are often best. Most of the orange colored winter squash can either be cut into chunks and slow simmered until tender or placed skin side up in a cake pan or roaster with about a half inch of water and baked covered at 350F until tender. Length of cooking time is determined by the thickness of the squash, but it usually takes about an hour. A little bit of butter and salt along with a touch of brown sugar and you’re ready for dinner! Cooked squash also heats up perfectly in a microwave.