There are plenty of things to love about fall, and one of them is harvesting winter squash from the garden — or getting them from your local farmers market — and then creating delicious dishes for your family. You can choose from multiple types, such as acorn, spaghetti, butternut, Hubbard, delicata, and more.
Winter squash have a denser texture and flavor than summer squash, and they have firmer flesh, which makes them perfect for using in soups and stews, casseroles, breads, and desserts. A favorite method of preparing winter squash is to stuff the shells with a variety of fillings, and then bake them in the oven.
Besides being tasty, squash is healthy and nutritious — loaded with minerals and phytonutrients, including carotenoids, flavonoids, potassium, magnesium, vitamins, and polysaccharide fibers. Squash can also be filling, and its flesh contains a type of fiber that helps prevent blood sugar from spiking after consuming a meal.
When harvesting or selecting squash from the farmers market, make sure it sounds hollow when you knock on it with your knuckles, and that it has a firm rind, which means it's ripe. If you happen to select a squash that’s not quite ready to eat, set it in a warm, sunny spot until it ripens. On the other hand, if you’ve got excess ripe squash, you can store the fruits in a cool, dark area for a couple of months or more. Hard-shelled types, such as butternut, can keep up to six months if properly cured and stored.
Here are some winter squash recipes from the archives of our sister publication, Capper's Farmer, for you to enjoy!