Ingredient Spotlight: Kabocha Squash

Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin that is extremely sweet and is used in many Japanese dishes such as oden and tempura. It's also used in cakes and other sweets.

Full of beta carotene, iron, vitamins, and other good stuff, kabocha is extremely good for you. It's also smaller than most winter squashes, so it's perfect for single servings or small households.

Food anthropologists have determined that squashes originated in Mesoamerica. Kabocha was brought to Asia by the Portuguese.

When buying kabocha, choose squash that are heavy for their size. The rind should be dull and firm with no soft spots. The light-colored bumps on the green rind are normal.

(Image: Kathryn Hill)