Winter squash isn’t actually a type of squash, but a category of hard-skinned squashes that includes many of the squashes we have seen (and will continue to see) in our boxes such as: acorn, butternut, delicata, buttercup and spaghetti. With the exception of spaghetti squash, which we highlighted in a different blog post, many of these squashes have similar texture and can be used interchangeably in recipes. Here is a visual guide to different squash varieties. Not on this list are some fun relatives of butternut squash that have already been showing up in your boxes like:
Winter squash stored in a cool dry place will last several weeks. Squash store at ideal temperatures will even last months. If possible, store at 50-55° in a dry spot with low humidity. If its too cold it will suffer chilling injuries and start to deteriorate. We don’t recommend storing in the basement because it is probably too moist and they will be more likely to rot. Cut squash wrapped in plastic wrap will keep in the fridge for a week to 10 days.
Roast It! Peel off the skin of the squash and dice into cubes.
Lightly coat with olive oil or canola oil and your favorite herbs and spices. Place on a foiled pan and roast at 400° for 25-35 minutes. Flip the squash over once halfway through.
Mash It! Cook squash according to the recipe on the bottom right, scoop out the flesh, and mash with a fork. Season with a little salt, pepper and spices.
Winter squashes are rich in vitamin A, folic acid and potassium. The dietary guidelines recommend that adults eat 4-6 cups of red or orange vegetables (like winter squash) each week.
Butternut squash has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It might be fall's most versatile vegetable. They are larger than most other winter squash, ranging in size from six to 12 inches long and in weight from about two to about five pounds.
This hardy squash can be kept for up to three months in a cool, dry place. But know that butternut squash will not last as long in a warm kitchen. For optimal storage keep them in the basement or another cooler place if possible. Do not refrigerate whole squash but once cut, butternut squash should be wrapped tightly and refrigerated. When it comes to cutting the smooth skin to halve, slice, or cut wedges of bright orange flesh, follow this technique.
There are so many delicious ways to use this hard-shell squash, from soups and salads to lasagna and pizza. Next time you’ve got the oven on, use up the space to cook a whole squash – simply bake it just as it is until you can insert a knife in easily, then use it over the following days in salads or to turn into pancakes, fritters or a delicious spread for toast.
This week the Farm and FamilyFix recieved a pie pumpkin. If you don’t have a pie pumpkin, you can follow the same preparation and recipes with a butternut or honeynut squash. We will show you how to prepare a sugar (or pie) pumpkin so that you can use it in various recipes. It’s much easier and faster than you might think and the flavor of a fresh roasted pumpkin is quite different from the canned variety; it’s a bit earthier and nuttier. For fun, you might want to try a side-by-side taste comparison of canned pumpkin versus freshly roasted pumpkin. You might find It’s worth the extra work now and then. As a rule of thumb, 1 small pumpkin should make enough puree to equal one 15-oz. can.
How to Cook a Pie Pumpkin
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Use a sharp knife to slice the stem off before slicing in half so you don’t have to slice through the stem. Then slice the pumpkin in half.
4. With a sharp-edged spoon (such as a metal tablespoon with a sharp edge or a metal ice cream scoop), scoop out the seeds & guts. Make sure you clean & save the seeds for roasting.
5. Brush inside the pumpkin with oil and place face down on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
6. Roast at 350F for about 45-50 minutes. The exact time will vary depending on the size of the pumpkin(s) and you may need more time. The skin will be slightly darker and wrinkled and you should be able to poke a fork quite easily through.
7. Let the pumpkin cool for 10 minutes before handling. Use a large spoon to peel away the very thin skin. It comes off almost effortlessly. At this point, you can use the flesh in all kinds of dishes – soups, casseroles, risotto, pies, etc.
8. If making a puree: Place the pumpkin flesh into the blender and blend until smooth. Drain the pureed pumpkin in a cheesecloth to remove excess water or you can use it as is.
Spaghetti squash is another type of "winter squash." While it is harvested in fall it can last all winter if stored properly. It gets its name because when prepared the flesh resmbles spaghetti. Never cooked a spaghetti squash before? Have no fear! We will help you turn those beauties into a delicious dinner.
Spaghetti squash stored in a cool dry place will last several weeks. Squash store at ideal temperatures will even last months. If possible, store at 50-55° in a dry spot with low humidity. If its too cold it will suffer chilling injuries and start to deteriorate. We don’t recommend storing in the basement because it is probably too moist and they will be more likely to rot.
Most often spaghetti squash is prepared by first roasting it in the oven. Start by cutting the squash in half lengthwise and scooping out the seeds and pulp (see pictures below). Next, place both halves face side down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake the squash for about 45 minutes. Alternatively you could microwave it for about 15 minutes, but roasting is preferred for the best texture. You can tell the squash is cooked when the outside starts to cave in a bit and appears hallow. Use a fork to scrape out the inside of the squash. If well cooked it should separate into stringy pieces that resemble spaghetti.