Love Your Veggies
Learn how this amazing veggie can add star power to your favorite dish.
Wait, Squash Is A Fruit?
Did you know squash is technically a fruit? It’s true. Squash contains the plant’s seeds, making it a fruit, but because of the way it is used, many consider squash a vegetable. Varieties of winter squash include acorn, banana, buttercup, butternut, calabaza, delicata, golden nugget, hubbard, spaghetti, sweet dumpling, turban and pumpkin.
No matter which type of winter squash you choose, the health benefits are sure to give you something to smile about. Squash contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol and can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Many believe the natural plant chemicals in squash can help prevent cancer.
Baked, roasted, toasted or in a soufflé, winter squash is a versatile vegetable with a rich flavor just on the edge of sweet. No matter how you like it, winter squash is a great source of vitamin A, thiamin, vitamin B6 and magnesium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium and manganese.
Not everybody is familiar with using squash. It can be difficult to figure out how to tell freshness, what to do with it once you’ve got it and how to incorporate into some of your favorite dishes. We’re here to help ease the burden.
When choosing squash, pick the ones that are firm and feel heavy for their size. Always inspect the produce, especially the rinds. The rinds should be dull, not glossy, and should always be hard. Soft rinds indicate a watery squash, a telltale sign of lackluster flavor. Any squash showing signs of decay should be avoided.
Most varieties of winter squash can be stored anywhere from one week to six months, as long as they are kept away from direct exposure to light. Squash can be a bit sensitive and should always be kept in mild temperatures, ideally between 50-60°F. If you decide to cut the squash, cover the pieces in plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge for up to two days. Remember, freezing sliced squash is always an option as well.
Use a vegetable brush to scrub squash under running water until it feels clean. Then you can cut it lengthwise in half and remove all the seeds and strings with a spoon. (This can be a fun job for the kiddos!) If the squash is too tough to cut, try microwaving on high for 5 to 10 minutes, then letting it cool for a couple of minutes before trying again. Once you’ve cleaned, cut and de-seeded the squash, there are all sorts of ways you can get it ready for cooking. It just depends on the recipe you want to make.
One of the best things about winter squash is the variety of ways in which it can be cooked. If you’re in a hurry, you can peel the squash, cut it into pieces, and toss it into a small amount of boiling water for about 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and serve. If you’re all out of clean pots and pans, you can place the squash halves cut side down in a microwavable dish, cover it and cook until tender (about 8 minutes.) Winter squash can also be sautéed, baked, steamed or grilled. Try it different ways to see which one your family likes the best!
Winter Squash Recipes
With its velvety texture and subtle sweetness, winter squash is sure to be a smash hit with kids and adults alike. Baked, roasted, pureed, or steamed, this wonderful winter veggie will keep your family warm all season long.
Herb Sauced Vegetables
This easy veggie medley is the perfect side dish to any hearty winter meal.
Carrot Ginger Soup
Delicious ginger and carrots mingle in a soothing and delectable broth.
Pepper Plus Panini
This colorful sandwich is the perfect compromise between sweet and savory.