Winter Squash

About

Winter squash has a thicker skin than summer squash, and thus stores for longer periods of time.  Squash picked in late summer and fall can even last into winter.  With the exception of spaghetti squash, winter squash flesh tends to be orange, mild and sweet.  Winter squash is often swapped for one another in recipes.  Winter squash originated in South America.  It is high in vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as potassium, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and antioxidants.

At Plowshares & Prairie, we grow several types of winter squash:

  • Delicata: cylindrical and mostly white with some green and yellowish coloring; sweet squash with an edible rind.
  • Acorn: green skin and (not surprisingly) acorn-shaped; good in soups, but best roasted or stuffed.
  • Red Kuri: red-orange flesh, round and squat; sweet flavor great pureed, roasted, and in soups.
  • Spaghetti: Yellow-orange and cylindrical but bigger than delicata (looks a bit like an elongated pumpkin); roast and scrape out flesh to serve like pasta.
  • Butternut: off-white and the shape of a skinny bell; has a nutty taste and can be roasted, pureed, or used in soups.
  • Baby Blue Hubbard: Light blue skin with yellow-orange flesh; great mashed or pureed, or cubed.
  • Turban: Mushroom or turban shaped, orange top and smaller bottom with white, green, yellow, and orange streaks; wonderful stuffed.
Clockwise (starting from top left): acorn squash, butternut squash, delicata squash, red kuri squash, turban squash, spaghetti squash, and baby blue hubbard squash.

Clockwise (starting from top left): acorn squash, butternut squash, delicata squash, red kuri squash, turban squash, spaghetti squash, and baby blue hubbard squash.

Storage

Stores at room temperature for up to a month, or in a cool (50-55°F), dry place for several months.  Bruised or damaged squash will deteriorate more quickly.

Recipes

General Tips

One pound of trimmed squash yields approximately two cups of cooked squash.  Squash can be boiled or steamed in 1 ½ - 2-inch chunks for 15-20 minutes or until tender; it can be peeled before or after cooking.  Winter squash is excellent baked: slice in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and place on a cookie sheet (water can be added to avoid drying and hasten cooking); cook with olive oil or butter; roast for 40 minutes to 1 ½ hours, depending on size.  Cooked squash can be pureed for a creamy soup, or chunks can be added to stews.

 

Herb Roasted Red Kuri Squash

1 red kuri squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

Fresh rosemary

Fresh thyme

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut squash in half and remove the seeds from the cavity (save seeds to toast – see recipe below). Arrange the squash halves face-up on a baking sheet. Rub the olive oil over the squash and place the remaining ingredients in the squash cavity.  Roast the squash for about 50 minutes. Check the squash periodically and spoon the butter-herb mixture over the rest of the squash surface to season. When you can easily pierce the flesh with a knife, the squash is done. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.

 

Cumin & Parmesan Roasted Squash Seeds

Seeds from one squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350°F.* Remove any large pieces of squash from the seeds and place the seeds in a large bowl. Don’t worry if a bit of squash remains on the seeds. Toss with the olive oil, cumin, and salt and pepper. Spread the seeds evenly over a baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the seeds are golden brown. Check and stir frequently.  When the seeds are done, remove them from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the grated Parmesan.

*(You can also put them in the oven with the squash at 400°F. Just watch them carefully.)

(Original recipe here.)

 

Roasted Acorn Squash

1 large acorn squash

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

¼ cup dark brown sugar

Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Pour a very small amount of water to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13” pan.  Slice the acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds.  In each squash half, add 1 tablespoon butter (cut into chunks) and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Sprinkle sea salt around the sides.  Roast for 45-60 minutes, until squash is very tender and brown sugar has caramelized. Remove from oven, add additional sea salt to taste, and serve. (Original recipe here.)

 

Delicata Squash Rings

1 delicata squash

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Scrub squash, cut off ends, and cut into ½-inch rounds.  Using a paring knife, cut out a center circle containing the seeds in each round to create rings.  Lightly coat both sides of rings in olive oil on a pan, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes, flipping half way through. (Original source here.)

 

 

Stuffed Turban Squash

1 (3 pound) turban squash

2 tablespoons butter

¼ small onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, finely diced (optional)

½ pound pork sausage

¼ cup soft breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the top off the turban squash, as you would for a jack-o-lantern type pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and pulp and discard. Place turban squash, cut sides down, on an oiled or foil covered baking sheet, and cover with foil.  Roast for 50-60 minutes or until tender. Scoop out tender pulp from cavity of squash. In a saucepan, sauté onions, celery, sausage and diced carrot in butter until tender. Drain any fat, and mix in brown sugar, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and cooked squash.  Stir until well-mixed. Spoon filling into the cavity of the turban squash and cover with the top.  Place extra filling (if any) into a separate dish. Bake squash and any extra filling for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Serve hot.  (Original recipe here.)

 

Butternut Squash Soup

6 Tablespoons chopped onion

4 Tablespoons butter

6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash

3 cups water

4 cubes chicken bouillon

½ teaspoon dried marjoram

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 (8oz) package cream cheese

In a large saucepan, sauté onions in butter until tender.  Add squash, water, bouillon, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper.  Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.  Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth.  Return to saucepan, and heat through.  Do not allow to boil.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Butter & Sage

1 butternut squash

1 T. olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 T. unsalted butter

Leaves from 1 bunch of sage

Preheat oven to 425°F. Peel squash, and cut off blossom and stem ends.  Cut in half vertically, and scrape out seeds and fibers; then cut into 1-in. chunks.  Spread onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Roast for 15 minutes, stir, and roast for another 10-15 minutes until tender and browned.  Remove from oven.  Melt butter over medium heat in a small pan until foam subsides. Add sage; cook until the butter turns light brown and sage becomes crisp (~30 seconds). Pour the brown butter and sage over the squash and toss to coat. 

 

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Kale

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 three-pound spaghetti squash

¾ pound turkey sausage (or any favorite sausage)

½ cup minced red onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 cups thinly sliced kale

1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil a sheet pan with one tablespoon of the oil.  Slice off ½-inch from the ends of the spaghetti squash. Then stand the squash up on one of the ends to stabilize it, and cut the squash in half, top to bottom. Scoop out any seeds and stringy bits inside, and place the squash halves cut-side down on the pan. Poke the tops of the halves with the tip of a sharp knife.  Bake for 35-45 minutes until you can easily poke the sides of the squash with a fork. Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Using the tines of a fork, scrape out the “spaghetti”-like strands of the squash to a bowl.  In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the sliced kale and cook for a minute or two. Add the sausage, and cook without stirring, until the sausage starts to brown; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage bits are cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the spaghetti squash strands to the sausage mixture and stir to combine; cook until the squash is heated through, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add the grated Parmesan cheese and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.  (Original recipe here.)