Locally grown squash is a great healthy addition to meals and can be found in an assortment of shapes and varieties in Colorado during the months of mid-July through December. Try using the following tips listed below for selecting, storing, and exploring new ways to enjoy squash in your next meal!
Varieties, Selection, and Storage
While there are many different varieties of squash, there are two main categories that require different selection and storage techniques.
- Summer Squash– have thin edible skins, soft seeds, and are high in niacin and vitamins A and C. The main varieties available include: zucchini, crookneck, straightneck, and scallop. For the best flavor, select blemish-free squash that are around 4-6 ounces. Store in a refrigerator for up to five days.
- Winter Squash –have hard thick skins and seeds and provide a good source of niacin, riboflavin, and vitamins A and C. The main varieties available are: acorn, spaghetti, butternut, and banana. Look for deep colored, blemish-free squash that are heavy for their size. Store in a cool, dark place such as a cabinet or pantry. Most varieties will store for 1-3 months.
Ways to Enjoy Squash
Boost nutrition and flavor by brightening your plate with squash! Try the following ideas:
- Soup – add squash puree to soup for a rich, creamy base
- Muffins – add shredded summer squash to muffins to increase fiber and texture
- Sides – roast winter squash and toss with olive oil, spices, and fresh herbs for a tasty side dish
- Seeds – save the seeds from the middle of the squash and bake them for a light and crunchy snack
To learn more about preparing squash check out the Farm to Table Squash Facts Sheet
Did You Know?
Spaghetti squash is a winter squash that can be used as a gluten-free pasta alternative. Prepare using the following steps:
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Cut the washed squash in half lengthwise.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- Place squash halves on the baking sheet cut sides down, and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove squash from the oven and scoop out pulp.
- Toss with olive oil, fresh vegetables, and marinara sauce.