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Squash

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Preview of Squash

Available

September 15 - March 1

Harvest Period

September 15 - October 31

Squash was one of the "Three Sisters" planted by Native Americans, whose trio also included corn and beans. These three plants were often grown together for communal benefit.  While the cornstalk provided support for the climbing beans, the squash vines provided ground cover to limit weeds and the beans fixed nitrogen from the air for all three crops.

 

What to Look For

 

Look for a dry, uniformly hard surface free of soft spots and bruises. Despite the tough exterior (which preserves them during lengthy storage), winter squash need careful handling as they will crack open if dropped.

 

Storage

 

Squash can be stored for several months in a cool, dry location like a cold cellar. But once it is cut, it should be carefully wrapped, refrigerated and used within five days.

 

To freeze, cut squash into uniform pieces and remove seeds.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast at 350F until tender.  The cooled pieces can be left whole, or mashed, before placing into freezer bags or containers.

 

Nutritional Information

 

Orange-fleshed winter squash is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A and C, and a very good source of potassium and manganese.

 

1/2 cup (205g) of baked butternut squash provides 40 calories, 0g fat, 10g carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, and 1g protein.

 

How to Use

 

Squash can be halved (make sure to use a sharp knife as the larger squashes can be extremely tough), seeded and baked at 375°F (190°C) for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve cooked squash with a tablespoon of brown sugar or maple syrup and a pat of butter in the cavity. Winter squashes also lend themselves to pureed vegetable soups, pies, and breads. The seeds can be toasted and salted for a healthy snack.

 

To boil/steam: Cut into pieces, remove seeds and fibre. Cut into large cubes. Boil in lightly salted water or steam for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Remove, allow to cool slightly and scoop pulp from rind.

To microwave: Cut in half, remove seeds and fibre from centre and peel. Cut flesh into 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) chunks. Place in 8-cup (2 L) casserole, cover, and microwave at high, stirring several times, for 15 to 18 minutes or until tender.

To purée: Mash cooked pulp in food processor or blender until smooth; or use a food mill, strainer or potato masher. Drain pulp in strainer for 15 minutes; discard liquid or reserve for use in soups and stews. Pack purée in airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for up to six months.

To roast seeds: Wash and remove any bits of clinging fiber. Spread seeds on clean baking sheet; let dry at room temperature overnight. Toss with 1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) vegetable oil. Bake at 250°F (120°C), stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours or until golden brown and crunchy.

 

Varieties

 

Varieties such as Jerradale,Waltham Butternut, Buttercup, Royal Acorn, Hubbard (Golden, Blue and Green), Hercules, Kindred, Delicious and Boston Marrow can be stored for long periods.