Farmers' Market Fresh Item
Week 25: Winter Squash
Did you know that squash was a Native American crop? The name comes from the Narragansett word “askutasquash” meaning “eaten raw or uncooked.” The hard shells served as containers and utensils. Squash was boiled or roasted and young shoots, leaves, flowers and seeds were all consumed. The pilgrims were unimpressed with squash — until they tried to survive their first winter.
Delicious in soups, casseroles, pasta, drinks and desserts, winter squash is rich in omega 3s, beta-carotene, Vitamins A and C and antioxidants.
Some winter squash varieties are the perfect size for individual servings. Some can be 15 pounds or more, which are great for soups, pies, mashing or freezing.
Squash should be firm, heavy for their size and the rinds should be dull — not glossy. Choose a squash with a hard rind to ensure it is not watery or lacking flavor. Depending on the variety, winter squash can be easily stored for one to six months. Keep it in a cool but not cold place (ideally around 55°F) and out of direct sunlight.
If appropriate storage is not available, squash can be cooked, mashed and then frozen. Canning of mashed or pureed squash is not recommended because of the density of squash — it’s nearly impossible for the heat of the canning process to penetrate to the center of the jar.
Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Red Onions and Delicata Squash
Sausage and Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Fresh Food Links:
MFMA: Find a Farmers' Market Near You
Minnesota Grown: Your Guide to Winter Squash (PDF)
University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Pumpkins and Winter Squash in Minnesota Home Gardens