Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Squash Surprise!

So we wanted to try the squash I grew in the garden this year. The wife can't cut squash- they are too hard for her. So yours truly tackled it and soon split it with our heaviest knife. So far, so good. I scooped the insides into a shallow dish- since I wanted to roast the seeds. Suddenly, little white jumping larvae were boiling up out of the squash innards in the bowl! The wife was seriously grossed out and left the kitchen, telling me to cover the bowl or put hot water on it, or to just "DO SOMETHING!" So I put them in the microwave and zapped them. It worked. But as you can see, a few escaped to the floor. Once you could disassociate them from being inside food you wanted to eat, they are kinda cute, and funny when they jump.
A few minutes later, the boys and I were on the sofa when we saw a pair of them jumping across the floor. So I took a video. Those little buggers could jump about 20cm!

Tephritidae are a kind of fruit fly. Here in Japan these are called "Kabochamibae." Lit. Pumpkin Fruit Flies. They do a lot of damage to squash here. The adults look a bit like small wasps, and they lay eggs on or just under the skin of the squash. The larvae eat their way to the center and then go to town on the soft inner pith.

I checked our squash very, very carefully, and found no damage to the meat of it. So I scraped off an extra few millimeters and we cooked and ate it. The same with the seeds- none had any damage. They just were eating the connective tissues around the seeds apparently. Maybe they would eat into the meat and seeds if they were older. But anyway, it was pretty good. No wonder the flies liked it.

The next squash I will open up outside to spare the wife some distress.

So the way I made the roast seeds was to:
1. wash the seeds in a colander until they were clean
2. Boil them in fairly salty water for 10 minutes.
3. Put a dollop of sesame seed oil on a shallow baking dish, and spread the seeds one layer deep.
4. Sprinkle with salt and roast them at a medium high temp until they were just about to turn from chestnut to black.

Man, they were so good.

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