This post is continued from the May 31, 2014 post, “It’s not easy being green.” Did you watch the video? Here it is again:
Where were we? Ah, yes. Auntie Edna used “pumpkin tips” in her shrimp dish.
I searched and searched online for ideas on how to cook squash tips. (Go ahead, Google “squash tips.” You will learn very little about cooking.)
I switched to pumpkin shoots, pumpkin tips, squash shoots. I finally found a newspaper article in which the author said he (she?) cooked some cucumber vine tips, and that they were delicious.
I finally just DID IT. I cut off a bunch of the new growth tips, about eight inches in length each, from the spaghetti squash plant. I didn’t do anything special to prepare them; no peeling or scraping. Yes, squash plants are prickly. They can cause temporary skin irritation. Regardless, I just rinsed those suckers and cut them into half-inch pieces. If the stem was thicker than a pencil, i discarded it – just in case it was too tough or bitter.
I used the leaves, the tendrils, the tiny baby blossoms: all into the pot! I sautéed them in olive oil and covered the pan with a lid. I cut a couple of grape tomatoes in half and threw them in with the greens. Also some chopped garlic. They were fairly tender, fairly soon. Maybe five minutes with the lid on? A little salt, and I served them up, along with some sautéed kale for comparison.
The verdict? I would eat the squash tips ANY day over kale. It was freakin’ fantastic. Joe compared the two greens this way: Kale is like super dark chocolate – an acquired taste. Squash tips are like milk chocolate – nothing strong or odd. They were mild and tender, and their pre-cooked prickly nature had disappeared.
It turns out that squash and pumpkin plants are eaten in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Sicily. Maybe you’ve heard about fried stuffed squash blossoms? That’s Italian. I will now follow the wisdom of these other food cultures and eat the entire plant!
Here’s a food blogger who cooks with winter squash leaves:
I might experiment with a stuffed squash leaf dish, a la stuffed grape leaves or cabbage rolls? I will definitely incorporate some coconut milk into the dish too. I’ll write about it when it happens! And to everyone in Guam: Hafa Adai! -Tina