The many colors of fall are best reflected in the produce that comes into fruition in this last growing season of the year. No produce better reflects this than winter squash (Cucurbita).
Over time winter squash has been used for many purposes from food to art. Although pumpkins are one of the most well known varieties of Cucurbita, there are several other beautiful varieties in a myriad of colors which grace farmer’s market stalls and vegetable bins at grocery stores. Among these are Delicata, Pattypan, and Acorn (see picture). Winter squash, if stored correctly, can also last for several months so they can be stockpiled for winter meals. To store squash properly it must be “cured” for 10-20 days at room temperature (70ºF), then transferred to a cooler (45-50ºF), but dry environment. Larger varieties of winter squash will keep for sixth months, while smaller varieties will keep up to 3 months. Winter squash should not be kept in the refrigerator due to high humidity, although cut squash should be stored in the refrigerator.
Winter squash is an excellent source of dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. Winter squash can be used in quick breads, pies, and cookies, blended into soups and smoothies, even, in the case of Spaghetti Squash, treated like pasta. So take advantage of these wonderful gifts of fall and start stockpiling your winter supply today.
Information on winter squash was obtained from www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/veggies/wsquash1.html ».