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The cucurbit season is in full swing, so now is the time to take advantage of it. Between gratin and velouté, our hearts waver in view of the numerous recipes available to us. But before transforming them into delicious dishes, you still need to choose them carefully. In fact, certain signs can give you an idea of the maturity of these vegetables. Here are the details that should catch your attention.
According to David Henriet, gardener in Hauts de France and author of a book on squash, the first sign that should alert us to knowing if a cucurbit is ripe is the leaves:“You have to observe it, see if the foliage has started to disappear” he explains to our colleagues at France Info. So, when the squash is devoid of leaves, it is approaching maturity.
The expert also explains to our colleagues that the sound produced by the squash is essential:”You have to hit it with your fist. If it sounds hollow, it’s a sign of a squash that’s starting to mature. We will then be able to harvest it and keep it in the best possible condition, he emphasizes. If the squash doesn’t sound hollow, let it ripen a little more.”
The visual is also a key point. Color is important. The latter must be very orange and above all united. If the pumpkin or squash has green spots, it means they should not be eaten yet. Patience.
The peduncle is also an indicator of the maturity of the vegetables. It should be firm and dry. This means that the vegetable can be enjoyed. On the other hand, if it is too soft and comes off too easily, that’s a bad sign. It is not yet ripe.
Finally, if the rind of the pumpkin (squash, butternut or pumpkin) is hard, it is ripe. To easily check this, simply apply pressure with your nail or finger and see if the skin resists well. If you manage to push it, the vegetable may have little flavor or a bitter taste.