Winter squash are the many-flavored, many-colored sibling to the pumpkin. But they are for much more than just decoration. Picked after the first hard frost, for sweetest flavor, winter squash is then cured until the stem and skin harden.
Winter squash has a very high vitamin A content, and loses none of its nutritional value during storage. Rather, winter squash gains carotene and continues to add to its vitamin A the longer it’s stored.
Storing Winter Squash:
If stored with care in a cool (40-50 degrees), dry place, well-ripened winter squash will keep for the entire winter (some varieties up to a year). Frequently check stored squash, and wipe off any developing mold. Winter squash may also be easily cooked and frozen for later use.
Cooking Winter Squash:
Halve the winter squash and scoop out seeds. Place halves or pieces in baking dish, add an inch of water, and cover. Bake at 350 until soft (about an hour, depending on size).
Boiling or Steaming:
Place whole or cut squash in a few inches of water and boil or steam until fork tender.
Place whole or cut squash in one inch of salt water and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
We’re always sharing recipes and ideas for cooking winter squash on our Pinterest boards, and we’ve highlighted a few of our favorite recipes on our blog, as well.
Serving Winter Squash:
Scoop the pulp out of the rind, and enjoy the flavor of winter squash simply enhanced with butter, cinnamon, or salt and pepper. Pureed squash can be used like pumpkin in any recipe. Smaller squash like the Delicata make delicious squash rings by slicing the un-cooked squash, removing the seeds to make a ring, dotting with butter, and baking until tender. Sweet Dumpling and Acorn squash are great for stuffing. Squash soup, squash bread, and squash pie–the variations upon winter squash are as endless as the items in your pantry.
Identifying Winter Squash Varieties:
There are hundreds of varieties of winter squash, in all shapes and sizes. Below you’ll find photographs and descriptions of the winter squash varieties grown by Front Porch Farm in Colville, Washington.