There are so many different types of winter squash including acorn, butternut, buttercup, Hubbard, and spaghetti! They have a short gardening season between the months of September and October. That’s why we should take advantage of these delicious vegetables this month. They also have a few key nutrients including:
- Vitamin A for vision, healthy skin, and resistance to infection.
- Carbohydrates for energy.
When choosing the right squash make sure they are firm, have a hard and tough skin, and are free of cracks and soft spots. The skin of winter squash should be dull. Squash that has shiny skin are immature and aren’t sweet. The size you pick depends on your needs. There is no such thing as an oversized winter squash!
When storing, winter squash can be stored uncut in a cool and dry place. They can be kept up to 3 months. Do NOT store in the refrigerator!
When preparing, scrub and wash dirt off the skin with cold water. Some types of winter squash can be difficult to cut. When cutting use a heavy knife, cut in half (lengthwise) and scoop out seeds. For squash that are impossible to cut before cooking, cook them whole. One pound serves 2.
When serving, steam or bake squash then allow it to cool. Then peel, puree and mash the squash with a potato masher, fork or food processor. Serve steamed or baked squash as a side dish or add to soups or stews.
Put a new spin on squash with our Cheddar Stuffed Acorn Squash, which serves 4 people and is 115 calories with 5.5 grams of fat.
- 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 3/4 cup chopped ripe tomato
- 2 scallions, or green onions thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the squash halves in a roasting pan, cut side up.
- Add about an inch of water to the bottom of the pan.
- Combine tomatoes and scallions or onions.
- Season with sage and salt and pepper to taste; mix well and divide the mixture evenly among the squash halves.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon of water over each and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
- Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until squash is tender when pierced by a fork.
- Divide cheese cubes evenly on top of squash halves, cook 5 more minutes (until cheese is melted), and serve.
This can be a great side dish or even the main. You and your children will love the cheesy flavor! Enjoy!