Kabocha is a Japanese variety of winter squash. The word kabocha has come to mean a general type of winter squash to many English-speaking growers and buyers.
Kabocha is commonly called Japanese pumpkin, especially in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, and is also called kabocha squash in North America. In Japan, the word kabocha may refer to either the squash discussed in this article or to the Western-style pumpkin.
Today many of the kabocha in the market are of the type called Kuri kabocha, which was created based on Seiyo kabocha (buttercup squash). It's popular for its strong yet sweet flavor and moist, fluffy texture, which is like chestnuts. It's found in the market under such brand names as Miyako, Ebisu, Kurokawa, Akazukin, etc.
When kabocha is just harvested, it is still growing. Therefore, unlike other vegetables and fruits, freshness is not as important. It should be fully matured first, in order to become flavorful. First, kabocha is ripened in a warm place 25°C (77°F) for 13 days, during which some of the starch converts to carbohydrate content. Then it is transferred to a cool place 10°C (50°F) and stored for about a month in order to increase its carbohydrate content. In this way the just-harvested, dry, bland-tasting kabocha is transformed into smooth, sweet kabocha. Fully ripened, succulent kabocha will have reddish-yellow flesh and a hard skin with a dry, corky stem. It reaches the peak of ripeness about 1.5–3 months after it is harvested.
- Ajihei No. 107
- Ajihei No. 331
- Ajihei No. 335
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