Fall's Harvest: Winter Squash

Winter squash is so named because it matures in late summer and early fall, and most varieties can be stored throughout the winter. In fact, some don't really come into their own until they've been in storage for a few months. Originating in South America, winter squashes are incredibly versatile and nutritious. In addition to the butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash you usually see, we've worked with several growers to procure a wide variety of winter squash for CGFC. Varieties are chosen based on table quality, size, tenacity in the face of bugs and disease, and overall weirdness. All squash is either certified organic, or naturally grown.

When choosing a squash, look for a one that's heavy for it's size, ripe (avoid green spots unless the squash is green), and doesn't have any soft spots. Any squash with wrinkles or nicks in the skin should be eaten right away, as they're unlikely to store well. Squash should be stored in a cool, dry place; most varieties will last for a few months. In general, larger squashes and those with a hard shell will last longer than small, thin-skinned ones. Winter squashes can be used for a wide variety of dishes, although I have a particular soft spot for brushing them with olive oil and roasting them.

Buttercup

Grown by Red Barn Gardens. A sweet, dry-fleshed squash. Great roasted or steamed; buttercups will store for several months. Try blending buttercup squash into a creamy risotto.

Butternut

Grown by Moore Family Farm and Blue Moon Farm. Tender when cooked, butternut tends to have more moisture than other squashes. Great for roasting, stews, and soups. Will store for a few months. Butternut squash’s mild, sweet flavor pairs beautifully with a variety of spices. Pair with curry powder and coconut milk in this butternut squash soup.

Silver Bell

Grown by Moore Family Farm. A wonderful, dry-fleshed squash, Silver Bell is fantastic brushed with olive oil and roasted. Use when the skin turns an orange-pink color; this indicates the squash is ripe and the skin can be easily cut. Silver Bell will often keep until early spring. Silver bell squash’s flesh is drier and fluffier than some other varieties, making it perfect for mashing into a creamy side dish. 

Hubbard Squash

Blue grown by Red Barn Gardens, Golden grown by Round Tuit. A great, multi-purpose squash that stores for a long time, Hubbards are known for their pie-making superpowers. Not only do they make great pies, they make a lot of them. Check out this basic squash pie recipe

Acorn

Grown by PrairiErth Farm, Blue Moon Farm, and Moore Family Farm. Acorn does not keep quite as well as others. Great for roasting and stuffing. We love stuffing with a wild rice pilaf, like this recipe shows how to do. 

Delicata

Delicatas are small, one-serving squashes that are great for roasting and stuffing. They're very tasty, but don't keep very well, and are actually relatives of summer rather than winter squashes. Try this roasted squash with cranberries and pumpkin seeds recipe to enjoy delicata squash.

Kabocha

Kabocha usually comes in either orange or green, and has a sweet, dry flesh and nutty flavor. They're particular nice for roasting. Kabocha can keep for several months. Try roasted Kabocha squash and using in a hearty winter salad like this one.