Variety Spotlight: Tempest Squash

This is the latest in a series of posts that I’ve done about my favorite varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs we grow at Happy Acres. To see my other Spotlights, and those from other garden bloggers, visit the Variety Spotlights page.

Today’s Spotlight is on a yellow squash named Tempest, which has quickly become my new favorite summer squash variety. Tempest is without a doubt the best tasting yellow squash I have ever grown and eaten. In my experience, most summer squash aren’t really known for being all that flavorful, but Tempest is an exception.

Tempest squash

It was bred by Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and they worked with growers and culinary experts to create a squash that is dryer than usual and has a firm texture when cooked. It also has a higher starch content than most summer squashes, which contributes to its rich sweet flavor. Tempest has some winter squash in its breeding lines, which no doubt adds to the extra flavor as well as the drier flesh. It was also bred to be visually appealing, with raised ridges and a faint striping that’s visible in the bright yellow skin.

Tempest squash

It grows on bushy, well-behaved plants that have an open habit and soft spines that are easy on the arms and the fruit when harvesting. This is my second year growing it, and my plants are vigorous and loaded with fruit. It’s quick to produce too, and this year my plants set on squash just 25 days after setting out transplants, and only 49 days from sowing the seeds in a Pro-Tray 24 cell flat.

Tempest squash plant

In the kitchen, Tempest excels both cooked and raw. I’ve served it braised in a little butter, grilled it on a gas grill, pickled it in a sweet pickling brine and sliced it thinly to serve in salads. My wife and I have truly enjoyed it every way we have eaten it. I have also frozen it for later use in soup and stews, where it lends color as well as flavor. I haven’t yet tried it roasted in the oven but I imagine it will be tasty when prepared that way too, and I plan on trying it soon.

Tempest squash on the grill

I hope you have enjoyed this spotlight on a summer squash that is not only easy to grow but great in the kitchen as well. Seeds for Tempest are available in the U.S. from  Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  I’ll be back soon with another variety to spotlight!

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