Sunday, November 17, 2013

All About Winter Squash


Some Popular Types of Winter Squash

  • Acorn Squash
  • Autumn Cup Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Banana Squash
  • Carnival Squash
  • Delicata Squash
  • Hubbard Squash
  • Kabocha Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Sugar Pie Pumpkins

 

The Basics

Winter squash comes in a variety of shapes round, elongated, scalloped, and pear-shaped and have bright colors such as golden-yellow and brilliant orange. The inside flesh has a sweet, nutty flavor.  Winter squash can be stored for months in a cool basement and often available year-round, but the natural season goes from late summer to mid-winter.  They are rich in antioxidants as well as a variety of vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin A and C, fiber, and potassium.

Choosing/Buying a Winter Squash and Storage

Winter squash should have a firm skin/rind and feel heavy. Make sure to choose one without mold, sunken spots, cuts or punctures in the skin.  The stem should be undamaged as well. Don't store in the refrigerator, but just in a cool dry place for about a month. After cutting the squash, it can wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for about 4 or 5 days. Once a winter squash is cooked, the inside flesh can be frozen.

Cooking

The exterior of the squash should be washed just before using. To cut from What's America Cooking: "To cut winter squash in half, grasp the squash firmly and use a sharp knife to slice through to the center. Then flip and cut the other side until the squash falls open. Remove and discard the seeds. Hint: Place the whole winter squash in the microwave for 3 minutes; then cut it easily, remove seeds, add butter, etc, and put into hot oven to bake. (Perforate with knife before putting in microwave so it won't explode.)" The seeds can be scooped out before cooking or after, but I usually do it before cooking. Most of the winter squash varieties are great for pur√©eing, roasting and baking.  Pureed squash can be mashed and used in soups, entrees, side dishes, even sweets and breads such as muffins or pies.

Resources

What's Cooking America - has a list of squash and a variety of facts about each such as what they look like and when available. This link also has prepping and cooking information. 

Cooking Light Winter Squash Recipes -
a list of recipes for Winter Squash

Smitten Kitchen Pumpkin and Squash Recipes -
a list of recipes

 

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