Squash varieties that are harvested in the fall are known as winter squash. Common types of these include acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, and spaghetti squash.
■ Winter squash plants like full sun and well-drained soil.
■ Plants can take up a large area as their vines travel to get light.
■ A good rule of thumb is to plant winter squash around the Fourth of July to harvest them around the end of October.
■ Look for skin that has a dull finish. Avoid skin that looks shiny.
■ A good winter squash will be firm with no soft spots.
■ Diced butternut squash can be purchased at the grocery store. Make sure to check the sell-by date.
■ Canned pumpkin is a convenient way to keep winter squash on hand. Read the nutrition facts label to be sure the canned pumpkin has no added sugar.
■ Winter squash has a hard outer skin that helps preserve it. The outside can be hard to cut, so be careful with the knife.
■ They can be cooked with or without the skin, but you should not eat the skin.
■ Remove the seeds, but remember you can toast them for a delicious snack!
■ Add roasted winter squash to pastas, salads, and soups to add flavor and nutrients.
■ Winter squash will keep a month or longer stored in a cool, dark place.
GLAZED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
1–2 butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 teaspoon dried sage, optional
■ Lay the squash flat on a cutting board and slice off the ends so you will have a flat surface. Peel the sides with the squash standing.
■ Cut the squash in half and scoop out and discard the seeds. Lay squash pieces flat side down and cut into bite size pieces.
■ Turn the eye of the stove to medium-high.
■ Pre-heat a large skillet. Add the squash, apple juice, and water to the skillet. Then add the butter, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Stir gently to mix all the ingredients.Keep cooking until the squash mixture starts to boil.
■ Reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the squash mixture start to simmer, bubbling gently. Cover the skillet.
■ Keep cooking for 25 minutes. Stir gently every few minutes.
■ Take the cover off the skillet. Cook 5 more minutes, until the liquid is thick and the squash is tender. Add the pecans and sage. Stir gently to mix with other ingredients.
■ Serve the squash while it is hot.