Winter Squash 101
Winter Squash Demystified!
Winter squash. What does that even mean? Yes, they’re the squash that are readily available in winter. Still what are they, how do you use each and which ones will you receive in your shares?
Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!
Check out this guide that provides you with all the answers :) Remember: while you can roast winter squash seeds apart from their flesh just like pumpkin seeds, it’s best to remove them before or after cooking and keep them separate!
Sweet and tender with dense orange flesh, the butternut squash is a flagship staple in American kitchens each winter. Why? Simply put, this versatile squash can easily be transformed into flavorful soups, an uncomplicated side dish or a solid vegetarian main course.
Butternut squash is best roasted, stewed, or grilled “low and slow.” You can also boil this dynamic pumpkin relative for a softer and slightly-less-sweet alternative. Butternuts have a distinctly moist and dense interior that is easily transferred to any “pumpkin” recipe.
This winter squash is best used earlier in the season (prior to November depending on the harvest date). Keep butternuts cool, dark and dry to ensure their best maturity.
Just like their namesake, acorn squash are acorn-shaped and they’re also full of delicious pumpkin-like flavor. Much like butternut squash they’re sweet and best used before November when harvested in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Acorn squash lend well to being roasted whole, stuffed and baked or turned into a puree for soups, sides and pastries.
Be sure to keep acorn squash cool, dark and dry to ensure their best maturity.
Curcubita pepo var. pepo
Delicatas have a sweet, cream-colored interior with flesh that is reminiscent of spaghetti squash but more tender, and less prone to fibrous strands.
This is a wonderful squash for wood-fired grilling, baking whole or stuffing and roasting. Delicatas have a thick skin and a smaller interior flesh, similar to zucchini. While they’re not always as sweet as some winter squash (although sometimes they are) there is no doubt that they are a premier winter squash for any home kitchen or restaurant.
This winter squash is best used earlier in the season (prior to November depending on the harvest date). Keep delicatas cool, dark and dry to ensure their best maturity.
Kabocha/Red Kuri Squash
Kabocha is known for gaining both sweetness and flavor as it ages and progresses into the winter months. Just like Hubbard Squash, this delectable wintertime vegetable is a heavy-hitter with both flavor and nutrition.
Roasting or baking might be the best way to enjoy the naturally deep, sweet flavor of this squash. For an easy vegetable side simply puncture the skin of your squash and roast in a pan at 425 degrees Farenheit for approximately 40 minutes (or until a fork can easily pierce the skin). After that simply halve and remove the seeds and skin for an amazing veggie treat!
This winter squash keeps well for long term storage (and can even last into the new year depending on the harvest date). Keep kabocha cool, dark and dry to ensure their best maturity.
Cucurbita maxima and other subspecies
The BEST long-keeping winter squash may be by far the hubbard. Whatever it’s color, name or varietal — hubbards are by definition a long-keeping squash that will serve you with an incredible culinary experience deep into the winter months.
These large, dense squash have a moist and almost potato-like interior that is at once comforting and homey. The flavor can be almost honey-sweet, and given their large size, there's a lot to go around.
Hubbards are best baked, stewed or turned into puree. Be sure to keep hubbard squash cool, dark and dry so they keep well and taste their best!
The quintessential fall item — pumpkins. They’re here, they’re there and they’re everywhere. Pumpkins are a wonderful fall vegetable, and one that’s been indigenous to Northeastern Mexico since at least 5,500 BC.
Most pumpkins keep well for 2-3 months when stored properly, although a lot of this depends on the variety! When in doubt, be sure to ask your farmer for some general advice on the pumpkin in question ;)
This American fall classic is perfect for roasting, pureeing and turning into soups. Some varieties are sweeter than others, making them a shoe in for pumpkin pies, desserts and baked goods!