December 21, 2017

A Guide to Winter Squash

A Guide to Winter Squash
It's time to get cozy with winter squash!
This guide will take you through 4 different varieties of our favorite winter squash and how to use them in your seasonal dishes like a pro. 

Squash can add a vibrant and robust flavor to your soups, stews, roasts, salads and even pancakes! Winter squash is low in calories and a good source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Squash is low in fat and provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.

Let's get squashin'!

Sliced-butternut-squash on wood

Butternut Squash

Butternut squash has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. Did you know that butternut squash is technically a fruit because it contains seeds? However, it is used as a vegetable and can be roasted, sauteed and pureed. 

Butternut squash can be rather daunting to prep, but fear not! We will tell you our best methods to making this task simple. First you will need to have a large, sharp knife and vegetable peeler, and a secure and stable place to cut. Cut about 1/4" off the top stem and bottom end first, to help keep the squash steady on your board. Holding the squash in one hand and use a vegetable peeler to peel off the outer layer. Once peeled, cut the squash in half from top to bottom. Scrape out the seeds, save them for roasting, and stringy pulp. You can roast the squash whole with a drizzle of olive oil and seasonings of choice, or cut into cubes and store in the freezer for later use.

Storage Tip
Keep your butternut squash whole, in a cool, dry place for 1-2 months. Store cooked butternut in the refrigerator in a tightly-sealed container for up to 5 days.

A Guide to Winter Squash

Delicata Squash

Delicata squash belongs to the same species as most types of summer squash, but is eaten at its mature stage in the winter. This squash is oval shaped and pale yellow in color with green stripes going down all sides. The taste is similar to a sweet potato and has a creamy texture. The skin is soft and edible. 

Delicata squash are easy to prepare as you don't have to remove the skin. If you are using the squash as a puree for a soup or baked treats we recommend cutting the top and bottom off first, slicing down the middle, scooping out the seeds, (save them for roasting) and drizzling with olive oil and your favorite seasonings. Roast the squash at 400°F for 25-30 minutes until tender and lightly browned.

If you are using this squash as an addition to salads and side-dishes we recommend slicing the squash width-wise to create beautiful half moon shapes before roasting; they are adorable and satisfying. 

preparing maple-roasted delicata squash

Storage Tip
Keep your squash whole in a cool, dry place for 1-2 months, no need to refrigerate. 
Cooked delicata will last up to 5 days in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator. 

A Guide to Winter Squash

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is the "spaghetti" of vegetables because when it's cooked, the flesh falls into strands or ribbons similar to spaghetti noodles. Ranging in color from ivory to yellow/orange, this squash is large in size, and oval in shape, similar to a melon. The texture of  the cooked squash is tender with a slight crunch and has a very mild, almost bland flavor.

Click here for helpful instructions on How to Cook Spaghetti Squash.


Spaghetti squash can be used as a low-carb alternative to pasta dishes. Just add your favorite sauce and fresh herbs. Spaghetti squash can be stuffed and even turned into your favorite chow mein!

Storage Tip
Uncut squash will keep for up to 1 month in a cool, dry place. Once squash is cut it should be kept refrigerated and tightly-sealed. Cut squash is best to use within 3-5 days. 

A Guide to Winter Squash

Sugar Pie Pumpkin

Sugar pie pumpkins are smaller, ranging from 2-4 pounds, and sweeter than your typical carving pumpkin. Their flesh is also firmer and less stringy. These pumpkins are most commonly used for baking, but can also be cooked down into a delicious pasta sauce.

Be sure to check out our helpful instructions for How to Roast a Sugar Pie Pumpkin or How to Steam and Puree Your Sugar Pie Pumpkin.

Storage Tip
Sugar pie pumpkins will keep in a cool, dry place for up to a month. Cooked pumpkin will last 3-5 days in a tightly-sealed contain in the refrigerator. 

We hope you have fun making your winter squash dishes! 
We'd love to see your finished recipes, so don't forget to post them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us @farmfreshtoyou