Wondrous Winter Squash



Available to mid-winter, these versatile vegetables are as delicious as they are nutritious. You can bake, sauté, roast, and puree squash, and you can dress it up with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, or whatever fixings please your palette.

Squash is on your side—it keeps you well hydrated, fights free radicals, helps protect from sun damage and prevents signs of aging. A powerhouse replete with complex carbs, dietary fiber, essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, squash is known to improve insomnia, soothe inflammation, protect heart health, help prevent cancer, manage diabetes symptoms, and much more.  These babies nourish from within, boost your health, and help you look your best.

Soups, pies, casseroles, breads, muffins, custards, salads, and pastas (think outside-the- box recipes, such as butternut squash ravioli) are all versatile dish options. Try a wide array of different squashes, including yellow, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, turban, delicata, Hubbard, sweet dumpling, blue Hokkaido pumpkin, Calabaza and Kabocha.

WAYS TO COOK/BAKE YOUR SQUASH

Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes, or until you can pierce it easily with a fork. When your squash is tender, the skin should peel off easily. And, don’t throw those seeds away; they can be roasted, too!

In addition to roasting, squash can also be sautéed, mashed and pureed. You can also steam, boil and microwave squash. Squash is even great raw, too. Try grating it over your greens, or mix it in a slaw with cabbage and apples, and top with a vinaigrette.

What to dress your squash up with?  Try extra virgin olive oil, butter, spices (like cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg), brown sugar, herbs (like rosemary and thyme), salt and pepper, honey, maple syrup, Parmesan or Romano grated cheese and marinara (for spaghetti squash).

Want to save some for later?  Squash can easily be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

It just wouldn’t be fall without butternut squash soup, which is delicious with a sprinkling of Parmesan or Romano or grated white cheddar cheese. Try these other recipes to bring winter’s wondrous squash to your table: 

PUMPKIN PECAN BISCOTTIPerfect for dunking; treat yourself to this fall treat!

Ingredients:

2¾ cups flour

¾ cups white sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

2 eggs

½ cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup finely chopped pecans

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment Whisk together dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
  2. In a different bowl, stir wet ingredients together and add the pecans. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix together until a stiff dough is formed.       Divide dough in half and roll into a log about 10 inches long and 2 inches         Place log onto parchment paper.
  3. Bake approximately 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes, then slice log into individual cookies about ½ inch thick.
  5. Return cookies onto baking sheet and bake for approximately 8 minutes. Take out of oven, turn cookies over with a spatula and bake about 8 more minutes. Take out of oven and let cool.

Recipe adapted from: allrecipes.com/recipe/216158/pumpkin-pecan-biscotti/

WINTER SQUASH SOUP

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2.5 pounds winter squash (such as acorn or butternut squash) peeled, deseeded and     cut into chunks

1 Tablespoon honey

5 cups chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsley (fresh), chopped for serving (optional)

3 dashes grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in saucepan and cook onions and celery until soft (about 15 minutes).
  2. Add squash and keep stirring (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add honey and chicken stock and bring to a simmer, cooking until squash is tender.
  4. Remove from heat and puree in blender.
  5. Season to taste and garnish with parsley and cheese.

Recipe adapted from: errenskitchen.com/winter-squash-soup/


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