Why they should become part of your rotation, how to choose the right one and what to make with them.
When you think of squash, chances are the first one that comes to mind is the pumpkin. However, there’s more to the season’s squash selection than pumpkins, which you’ll find no shortage of in the fall. Most squash remain at their peak throughout the entire month of October, although they’ll last until the first hard freeze of the year, according to Terry Picha, owner of the Picha family farm in Eden Prairie, Minn.
There is a variety of winter squash grown and available in Minnesota. These squash varieties include pumpkin, acorn, delicata, spaghetti-types, Hubbard, kabocha, butternut-types and buttercup-types, according to University of Minnesota extension horticulturist Vincent Fritz and soil scientist Carl Rosen.
The most commonly sold squash for Picha, who’s been involved with the Minneapolis Farmers Market since 1953, are the butternut, buttercup, spaghetti, delicata and acorn. These varieties are dense and packed with flavor and range from sugary-sweet to mild.
While each of these squash varieties vary in flavor, they share common nutritional values. Squash contains high amounts of omega-3s, betacarotenos, vitamin A and vitamin C, according to 101 Market master gardener intern Hannah Stoll.
When it comes to choosing a ripe squash, Stoll says to pay attention to the color. The darker the skin, the riper it is. Additionally, check for texture. While squash skin tends to be relatively thick and sturdy by nature, the squash itself should land somewhere in the happy medium between super hard and super soft. In terms of choosing the right type of squash, that decision depends on what you’re looking to make with it.
Picha’s favorite way to enjoy acorn squash is as simple as coating it in some olive oil, seasonings of choice, and popping it into the oven for a quick and easy side dish. However, if you’re in need of some heartier dinner inspiration then I’d recommend making this stuffed acorn squash inspired by blog Pinch Me Good. The best part? The leftover stuffing mixture can be stored and used for additional meals.
- 1 regular size acorn squash 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 minced shallot
- 1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 2 cups spinach
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 …….