The season of gourds is upon us!
For the next few months, you won't be able to enter a grocery store without being greeted by funky looking pumpkins and curvy squashes of all types.
The great thing about squash is that it can be the star, or act as an entrancing supporting role. In addition to its earthy flavor, squash is rich in beta carotenes, which are used to make vitamin A, an important vitamin for one's vision and bone growth.
Pumpkins in particular are rich in lutein, which may help to lower the risk of cataracts, and the potassium in squash will also help contain blood pressure.
Not sure how to flavor your squash? Here are some herbs that pair great with the autumn vegetable.
Sage and squash is like a match made in heaven. Something about how the earthiness of both ingredients work so well together.
If you really want the flavor of sage to come through, get some butter going in a pan and fry the sage—a few seconds each side—to bring its oils out. The butter and sage alone make for a great butternut squash ravioli sauce.
Oregano is one of those herbs that you didn't realize your dish tasted better with it until you actually put it in.
In Food & Wine's recipe for roasted squash with red onion, oregano, and mint, fresh oregano acts as a point of brightness for the caramelized onion and squash.
The ever ubiquitous basil is good with everything; yes, it's even great with squash. There are no other flavors quite like basil, and fresh basil is certainly unmatched.
Check out this risotto recipe with butternut squash, leeks, and basil for a filling and delicious side dish.
Squash, pumpkins, and gourds for the most part are fairly mild in flavor, though quite sweet. With the addition of pungent, spicy chives, you get a better balance of flavors.
This take on mashed potatoes uses squash and chives, and adds a jalapeño for good, spicy measure.
Thyme is another woodsy fall herb that complements not only sage, but also is the ultimate herb to use with poultry (think: your turkey!).
This recipe for squash with dates and thyme pairs the sweetness of squash and dates, and brings in the thyme to take the flavors back down to earth.
Marjoram is a fairly delicate herb, which makes it great alongside squash, as it won't overpower squash's natural sweetness.
This marjoram-infused winter squash bisque is a great, warming soup for any rainy fall day.
Parsley, like basil, is one of those wonderfully versatile herbs that go with just about everything. Chop it up and liven up your squash dish for something with a little more depth.
Evidently, the theme for squash is "earthiness," which makes complete sense: all these herbs are warm flavors that amplify the sweetness of the squash.
If you've ever prepared a Thanksgiving feast from start to finish, you'll know what a nightmare it is to try to source your herbs as you fight the crowds.
Well, with an Urban Cultivator, you will have access to all the herbs above 365 days a year. Even better: you only harvest when you need them, so they stay fresh.
What are your must-have herbs for squash/pumpkin/gourds? Let us know in the comments section!