Winter Squash

Selecting Winter Squash

Despite seasonal growth patterns, most types of squash are available year-round, though winter squash is best from early fall to late winter.

Winter varieties, such as those with dark skins that are too hard and thick to eat, include acorn, buttercup, butternut, calabaza, Danish hubbard, spaghetti, and turban. Look for smaller squash that are brightly colored and free of spots, bruises, and mold.

The hard skin of winter squash serves as a barrier, allowing it to be stored a month or more in a dark, cool place. An added bonus: Beta-carotene content actually increases during storage.

The skin may not be good to eat, but can help you judge whether or not
a winter squash is ready to eat: Look for bright colors and a lack of bruises.

Preparation and Serving Tips

After peeling (or not, if you like) and removing the seeds, winter squash can be baked, steamed, sauteed, or simmered.

Some savory seasoning suggestions for winter squash: allspice, cinnamon, curry, fennel, marjoram, nutmeg, sage, and tarragon.

And remember: Winter squash is a healthy food. When you think of fiber, think of squash. And you won't even think of having those extra helpings.

In the next section, we'll tell you why when we cover the health benefits of winter squash.

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