Guide to Winter Squash
Guide to Winter Squash
Winter squash come in many shapes, sizes and colors – all with their own unique flavors and qualities. When stored properly, squash can last for months, extending our local, seasonal eating on into the winter.
Squash is rich in beta-carotene and potassium and supplies a good amount of calcium, along with Vitamin C and other valuable minerals and fiber. It is easily digested, rich, sweet, and versatile. Squash can be used as a main dish, a side dish, a soup, in breads and muffins, and as a dessert.
How do you know if a squash is ripe?
Look for one that:
- is not bruised or cracked and does not contain soft spots
- has an attached stem
- is deep in color with a dull rather than shiny skin
- is heavy for its size with a relatively hard skin
Storing Winter Squash
Squash can be stored for 3 months or more in a cool, dry place between 50-60 degrees, out of direct sunlight and with proper air circulation. Squash should not be refrigerated and can be kept at room temperature for about a month.
Acorn Ribbed, dark green in color, develops an orange spot as it matures. A popular baking favorite that is mildly sweet and fleshy.
Carnival This squash has showy stripes of green and gold with a sweet, mellow taste reminiscent of a butternut squash
Turban Named for its shape, it has golden-yellow flesh. Its top can be sliced off so it can be hollowed and filled with soup. has a bright orange-red rind. You can use in recipes that call for pie or sugar pumpkin.
Buttercup It is dark green and has a sweet and creamy orange flesh. This squash is much sweeter than other winter varieties.
Butternut Pale orange/tan somewhat bell shaped with a large bulbous end. It is fine textured with a firm sweet flesh.
Delicata Elongated yellow/orange or green and tan striped with an edible skin that is said to taste similar to a sweet potato.
Kabocha A green/gray ball-shaped squash that is sweet and rich tasting.
Blue Hubbard Very large and irregularly shaped, with a warty blue/gray skin. The yellow flesh is very moist and takes longer to cook. Makes good pie.
Fairy Oval-shaped, with a flavor profile are similar to butternut squash and a rich, sweet, nutty flavor and velvety texture.
Sunshine Similar in appearance to a pumpkin has a bright reddish-orange skin, has a tender stringless flesh, with a sweet nutty flavor.
Sweet Dumpling These are tiny, sweet, pumpkin-shaped squash that are great for fun, individual sized servings.
Spaghetti Light yellow, large, elongated. Once baked its flesh resembles spaghetti. Just top with pasta sauce and cheese or butter.
A Quick, Easy Way to Cook Squash
Cut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place face down on a greased, rimmed baking sheet. Add a little water to the pan and bake at 375 until tender. How long depends on the size of the squash but anywhere from 30 minutes (for small squash) to 1 hour or more. It should be very tender when pierced with a knife. Serve with butter and if desired, brown sugar or maple syrup.
Try One of our Recipes Utilizing Winter Squash
Turkey Squash Soup
Aduki Bean and Winter Squash Stew
Butternut Squash Soup with Goat Cheese Croutons
Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan
Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing
Butternut Squash Gratin with Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts
Black Bean Chili with Squash and Swiss Chard
Spiced Winter Squash Bread
Spaghetti Squash Casserole