Gourds are mentioned in the Bible in several places.
Lots of different types of wild gourds abounded in the Mediterranean region. Some were edible, some were not.
In 2 Kings 4:39, when Elisha had his people around him, one of his servants put a gourd into a pot of stew.
In Jonah 4:6-10, the gourd is identified as the plant under which Jonah found shade. Biblical scholars believe that this gourd may have been a pumpkin or squash.
Pumpkins, gourds and squash are related.
They both belong to the squash family and are distant relatives. Now gourds are usually used for decoration, just like they may have been used in the Temple during Bible times. We grow gourds and the kids love to pick all the different kinds. But winter squash are a different story.
How do you prepare winter squash for cooking? That skin is tough!
Think of spaghetti squash, butternut squash, acorn squash, and, of course, pumpkins. The thing with pumpkins, though, is that the Jack O Lantern type we like to carve for Halloween doesn’t have a lot of flesh. So if you want fresh pumpkin for cooking, go for what is called pie pumpkins, smaller but with more flesh.
Poke it with a fork, put it in the microwave for a minute or two and then carefully lift it out with mitts. Let it cool a bit and then proceed to cut the skin off.
Pasta with butternut squash and sage
This is a real impromptu, go to taste, recipe. The original called for fresh sage and I only had dried from my herb garden. Unless you add red pepper flakes, don’t look for a lot of spice in this dish, just a nice, mellow flavor.
1 butternut squash, about 3#, peeled and chopped into 1/2” cubes
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
8 oz. whole wheat or other short pasta
4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
Dry or fresh sage leaves (start with 1 teaspoon dry or 3 fresh, chopped and go from there)
2-3 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt and pepper (I added a bit of crushed red pepper flakes at the end)
Parmesan for garnish
Preheat oven to 375. Mix squash, onion, salt and pepper and enough olive oil to coat. Be generous. Lay in single layer on pan and roast about 30-40 minutes, until squash is tender and lightly browned, turning halfway through. Cook pasta. Cook butter, sage and garlic until garlic is golden. Add squash mixture, and pasta (I didn’t add all the pasta at once) to taste. Add more sage if you like. Add red pepper flakes if you want. Sprinkle with cheese.
Tip from Rita’s kitchen: Easy-to-peel winter squash/pumpkins
Worth sharing again. Poke holes all over with fork. Put in microwave on high for a few minutes. This softens the skin. Remove with mitts. Let cool and peel.
Sub in pumpkin: Yes you can!