We see you at the market. You slowly walk by the pile of winter squash. As you eye-up those odd shapes we know what you’re thinking… “Those would look better in my Thanksgiving centerpiece than on my plate.”
What are they? A vegetable? A starch? Which ones should you pick? Better yet, what do you do with them? Winter Squash is often overlooked and is completely underrated! Not only is it conveniently in season, this low calorie food is high in fiber and contains healthy doses of Vitamins A, C, and B6, along with potassium and antioxidants. We are going to give you the quick and dirty facts on winter squash to get you acquainted with these cool weather gems. We have also included a delicious recipe from My New Roots to inspire you to build your relationship with winter squash.
Winter squash is a summer-growing, annual fruit, representing several squash species. It differs from summer squash in that it is harvested and eaten in the mature fruit stage, when the seeds within have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind. Most people identify squash as a vegetable but squash varieties fit into the same category as tomatoes and care considered a fruit as they contain the seeds of the plant.
Image Source: Oh My Veggies
Most Common Winter Squash Varieties
This variety is most often enjoyed roasted on its own or stuffed with accompaniments. This squash is also great in soups.
This is a popular star of many autumn soups. You may also have this sweet variety in sweet or savoury dishes. Watch our for it’s tough skin which is best removed after roasting.
For those carb-conscious eaters, this squash is an excellent substitution for pasta. Simply roast the squash, scrape out the flesh and add your favourite sauce! Voila!
Winter Squash Selection & Storage Tips
Pick ‘em dull.
This might be the one time that “dullness” is a good quality. The skin on your winter squash should be dull if it’s ripe. A polished looking skin might mean that it was likely picked too young. Remember, your squash doesn’t have to be flawless. Often times, organic produce looks less attractive because it hasn’t been pumped full of chemicals. Still, aim to choose a squash that has fewer bruises and blemishes – that way you can use the entire squash without discarding any bits.
Watch the weight.
In this case heavy is good. The squash should be heavy for it’s size.
Keep ‘em Cool.
Winter squash have a long shelf life and are easy to store – just keep them cool and dry. When kept in these conditions they can last anywhere from 3 to 6 months. But once you try our suggested recipe you won’t be able to keep the squash stocked in your pantry!
Winter Squash Recipe
We had a hard time selecting just one winter squash recipe to feature here; however, we are confident that our pick will impress you and your friends and family.
This recipe is just one of many unique and memorable recipes from Sarah at My New Roots. In this recipe, Sarah combines a few key seasonal ingredients. She discusses the benefits of eating seasonally and the abundance of nutrients the winter squash, kale and pomegranates provide going into the winter months. A delicious and beneficial combination, this dish will leave you glowing and satisfied.
Do you have any favourite winter squash recipes?