How to Prepare Turk’s Turban

Turk’s turban is a beautiful winter squash that comes along at the same time as some of the more popular varieties you find in the grocery stores, such as acorn and butternut. It’s shaped like- well- a turban, and puts on such a lovely color display that I’m surprised it’s not at the forefront of more fall decorating schemes. Its flamboyant red, white, green, and grey/black stripes turn the heads of even the most avid squash-haters among us.

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I was at a local farm last year to pick up decorations for my son’s birthday party when these beauties first caught my eye. I decided to pick one up for a centerpiece I was making, and I was very surprised when the owner told me that they were edible. How have I never heard of this before? After the birthday party came and went, I decided that I must discover a way to prepare my stylish eats.

A quick Bing search taught me a variety of ways to prepare Turk’s turban. Step one: cut it in half. I didn’t immediately understand which way I was supposed to do this from the instructions. So I took a guess. I tried to separate the “cap” from the wider base of the squash, and ended up sawing and hacking quite a bit in order to accomplish the task. (It was particularly tough-skinned, so I had to bring out my dangerous knife habits! Please let me know if you know of a more efficient way to do this!) Here’s what it looked like post-surgery:

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My halved squash did not look like the stringy inside I expected. This post from Food Every Which Way features a photo of the turban cut in half from top to bottom, and it looks way more like typical squash innards than mine did. I’m not sure if I just cut mine the wrong way, or if it was under ripe, or if I’m still holding delusional expectations… but regardless, it cooked up perfectly, so all’s well that ends well.

Step two. Again, typical squash. Scoop out the seeds. I always have my son helping me with this step. (Which usually involves a vacuum when it’s all said and done.)

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The seeds are white and plump, considerably bigger than those of a pumpkin. I made sure to wash and dry some so that I could attempt to grow my own Turk’s turban for this year.

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Step three. For my recipe, I chose to place the squash face down on a baking sheet at 350 for about an hour. The small cap was done baking in that time; the wider base probably could have used 15 more minutes, but I scraped out the innards anyway.

I used a squash soup recipe (the second recipe on this post from Cricket Song Farms) as my starting point. I made just a few changes- I added more chicken stock, put in milk instead of heavy cream, and added zucchini to my vegetable mix. I chose to puree only the squash mixture but leave my vegetables whole for a chunky soup. I took the author’s suggestion to serve it up in the squash “bowls,” topped with sour cream and sage. The result?

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Delicious! (Sorry the picture is a little blurry.) I really liked this, and my husband called it “pretty good!” which is a high compliment for squash from him. It was slightly nutty, not too sweet, and chock full of flavor. The sour cream added just a hint of tang. Yum, yum. My then-three year old ate it too, though the squash bowl may have contributed to his interest. I will definitely make this again when my Turk’s Turban is ripe this year.

How about you? Have you ever tried Turk’s turban? What’s your favorite recipe? Link up below so I can give it a shot too!

This post shared at The Homeacre Hop!

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