Winter Squash- Different Shapes, Sizes, Colors, and Tastes- We love them all!

The first winter squash begin arriving in stores in the Fall and stay in steady supply throughout winter. We love the taste as well as the array of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures.

Types: In addition to pumpkins, you’ll find butternut, turban, buttercup, carnival, Hubbard, acorn, kabocha, and spaghetti squash, and more! The choices are amazing but they’re all delicious and versatile.

Choosing: When shopping, choose winter squash that feels heavy for its size, with no soft spots. If it’s stored in a cool, dry spot, it should keep for two to four months.

What kind of squash should I use? All winter squash can be used in place of one another in recipes. 2 pounds of squash = about 3 cups cooked flesh.

How to use winter squash: Roast, bake, slow cook, puree, or mash. Use in soups, salads, casseroles, breads, muffins, and pies. You can also scrape out and wash the seeds to roast for a great snack.

Preparing winter squash: Wash and scrub well under clean water. Cut off the ends and scrape out the seeds. You can also wash the seeds and roast them for a great snack.

Storing: Uncooked winter squash may be stored from 1 to 2 months! Cooked winter squash may be cooled, wrapped, and refrigerated for 3 to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Cooking: Cooking Time: Here are three ways to cook winter squash. Cooking time will be different depending on the size of the squash. It is done once the hard exterior of the squash is softened.

  • Microwave cooking: Place halves or quarters, cut side down, in a shallow dish; add a little water. Cover and microwave on high, 6 minutes per pound. Whole squash – poke squash all over with a fork. Microwave the squash about 5 to 10 minutes (depending on size of squash).
  • Oven cooking: Pre-heat oven to 400°f. Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Pour a little water into a baking dish and place the squash halves face-down. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tender and easily pierced with a fork. *cooking time will vary a bit depending on the size of the squash. It is done once the hard exterior of the squash is softened
  • Slow Cooker: Place washed, whole squash in a slow cooker. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 hours on high or 5 to 7 hours on low. No water needed.

Eat Smart Idaho has collected a few recipes for winter squash. Try these, then share your own!

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