It’s that time of the year, once the weather starts getting a little cooler, or at least out of the 100s here in Texas, that our winter squash season begins. They come in many shapes, sizes and varieties, too many to mention here. They also have many uses, from being used as decorations, to being made into soups, pies, used as a pasta substitute or just roasted as a side dish.
• Acorn Mild, slightly nutty flavor.
• Butternut Very sweet flavor, a crowd favorite.
• Spaghetti No it doesn’t taste like pasta, but it’s very mild flavor and stringy texture makes it an excellent substitute for spaghetti.
• Delicata Sweet nutty flavor that has a hint of corn.
• Kabocha Much like Acorn, sweet slightly nutty taste.
• Pie Pumpkins Sweet flavorful, best squash to use to make pumpkin pies.
When picking your squash, try to find one that feels heavy for its size, and still has a nice stem attached. Stay away from squash that have any soft or moldy areas on the outer flesh.
If you are not going to use your squash right away store them in a cool dry area away from direct sunlight; the bottom of your pantry would be best in most homes.
Easy Winter Squash Cooking Techniques
Squash is super easy to cook, delicious, and good for you, too! Pair with nuts, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, bacon, cheese, pretty much everything!
Squash is easy and delicious when roasted in the oven.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
- Peel and cut squash into evenly-sized pieces
- Put squash in a pan or oven-safe skillet
- Toss with a little olive oil. You could add some herbs, spices, salt, pepper, etc
- Throw it in the oven! Check for doneness by poking with a fork. Use your nose and ears, too! The kitchen should smell like nicely cooked veggies
- Fill the bottom of a large pot with about 1” water. Insert your steaming basket. The water level should be below the steamer basket.
- Heat water to boiling, then reduce to a simmer.
- Peel and cut squash into evenly-sized pieces. Put them into the steamer basket and cover the pot.
- Test for doneness by poking with a fork. It should take about 30 minutes.
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Tender-firm, holds up when cooked. Versatile, mild flavor
USES: Baking, stuffing, mashing.
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Sweet and slightly nutty. Smooth texture, falls apart when cooked.
USES: Soups, purees, pies.
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE:
Sweet, buttery, and creamy.
Baking, roasting, and steaming.
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE:
Sweet, nutty, and buttery with a texture similar to sweet potatoes.
Best roasted, but can be steamed or pureed.
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Rich, sweet; tastes like chestnuts, corn, and sweet potatoes. Edible skin.
USES: Sauté, bake, broil.
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Yellow flesh is moist.
USES: Generally peeled and boiled, cut up and roasted, or cut up small and steamed or sautéed: longer time baking in the oven is needed. Perfect for pies.
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Similar in sweetness and texture to a sweet potato.
USES: Soups, curries, stir fry, salads.
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Mildly sweet. Creamy, rich texture
USES: Pies, custards, baked goods, curries, stews.
Red Kuri Squash
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Chestnut-like flavor, mildly sweet. Dense texture holds up shape when cooked.
USES: soups, pilafs and gratins, baked goods, curries.
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Stringy, spaghetti-like strands. Not very sweet with a mild, versatile flavor.
USES: Baked and the strands separated, then mixed with tomato sauce, pesto, or your favorite pasta topping.
Sweet Dumpling Squash
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Rich, honey sweet flavor. Dry, starchy flesh similar to a potato.
USES: Baking with cinnamon and butter