ingredient information
Squash Puree
Squashes generally refer to four species of the genus Cucurbita native to Mexico and Central America, also called marrows depending on variety or the nationality of the speaker. It is also natively grown in parts of North America, Europe, India, and Australia. In North America, squash is loosely grouped into summer squash or winter squash, as well as autumn squash (another name is cheese squash) depending on whether they are harvested as immature vegetables (summer squash) or mature vegetables (autumn squash or winter squash). Gourds are from the same family as squashes. Well known types of squash include the pumpkin and zucchini. Giant squash are derived from curcurbita maxima and are routinely grown to weights nearing those of giant pumpkins. Purée and (more rarely) mash are general terms for food, usually vegetables or legumes, that have been ground, pressed, and/or strained to the consistency of a soft paste or thick liquid. Purées of specific foods are often known by specific names, e.g. mashed potatoes or apple sauce. The term is of French origin, where it meant in Ancient French (13th century) purified or refined. Purées overlap with other dishes with similar consistency, such as thick soups, creams (crèmes) and gravies — although these terms often imply more complex recipes and cooking processes. Coulis (French for "strained") is a similar but broader term, more commonly used for fruit purées. The term is not commonly used for paste-like foods prepared from cereal flours, such as gruel or muesli; nor with oily nut pastes, such as peanut butter. The term paste is often used for purées intended to be used as an ingredient, rather than eaten. Purées can be made in a blender, or with special implements such as a potato masher, or by forcing the food through a strainer, or simply by crushing the food in a pot. Purées generally must be cooked, either before or after grinding, in order to improve flavour and texture, remove toxic substances, and/or reduce their water content.