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5 Winter Squash Winners | How to Identify, Prepare, Store, and Serve Winter Squash!

5 Winter Squash Winners | How to Identify, Prepare, Store, and Serve Winter Squash!
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acorn squashNew Englanders have utilized winter squash for centuries. With its thick and tough shell, winter squash can be stored for extended periods of time in cool dry areas throughout the winter and into the spring. Winter squash isn’t only a hardy and nutritious food source, it’s also delicious, versatile, and yes-even fun. Read on to learn about 5 squashes that you may want to winter with this season!

Acorn Squash: Named because of their shape, not their color, these squash have a green exterior with ridges and an orange-yellow flesh. The squash are medium sized (slightly larger than the size of a meaty fist) and easy to prepare. They can be cut in half, seeded and baked until soft (about 40 minutes), before being served straight from the oven with butter and brown sugar placed in the opening left from the removed seeds. Or try this recipe for Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash.

Spaghetti Squash: This medium-sized, elongated squash has an off white or light tan colored smooth exterior. Named for the way the squash separates after it has been cooked-resembling spaghetti, it can be used as a substitute for pasta. Cut a spaghetti squash in half and bake at 350 degrees until it is tender inside (approximately 45 minutes). Remove from the oven and graze with a fork before scooping out.  Season with salt, pepper and butter or serve with sauce. The interesting texture and high vitamin content make this squash even better! Try this recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomato Sauce.

Cinderella Pumpkins: Named for their resemblance to the pumpkin in the fairy tale Cinderella, this squash, which boasts a deep reddish skin hue, is an excellent choice for use in pumpkin pies — either with, or as a substitute for, the traditional “Pie pumpkin” varieties.

White Pumpkins: Also known as ghost pumpkins, these come in all sizes and also make a great substitute for pie pumpkins in recipes. They’re easily identified by their albino skin tone and can be used for baking when you’re done using these pale beauties in your fall decorating scheme.

Kakai Squash: This squash is typically small to medium in size and  resembles an ornamental gourd with yellow and green vertical stripes and ridges. The seeds are hull-less and edible as well as being quite plentiful. To try something different, bake, toast, or roast the seeds as you would ordinary pumpkin seeds, season and enjoy!

winter-squash

Uses for Pumpkin and Gourd Shells

  • Hollow out small pumpkins and gourds and insert a small vase with fresh water and use as a table centerpieces.
  • Hollow out and wash larger pumpkins and gourds and use a serving bowl for squash dishes.
  • Hollow out and wash small round squash and bake lightly.  Use these as serving bowls for warm or chilled squash soup.
Shelley Wigglesworth

Author:

Shelley Wigglesworth

Biography:

Shelley Fleming-Wigglesworth is a certified Maine Master Gardener and award winning newspaper columnist from Kennebunk, Maine. She has been writing for the York County Coast Star for more than a decade as a freelance columnist and features writer. In 2010 she began writing her own gardening column “The Master Gardener’s Notebook” for Tourist News. She also teaches gardening classes at local schools and colleges
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