Squash It!

October 12, 2009

With fall in the air and winter around the corner, it’s time to start cooking some warmer, heartier fare. Heartier doesn’t have to mean unhealthy, and the fall/winter season comes with nutritious and delicious vegetables to cook up. One of them is winter squash.

Winter squash is in season from October to November (although you can find it from August to March), and there are multiple varieties of this squash family. All of them have hard shells and mildly sweet flesh, but they differ in size, shape, color, and flavor. Like pumpkin (also a winter squash), all the varieties have edible seeds that are great roasted. Some well-known varieties include:

    • Butternut Squash: Shaped like a large pear, has cream-colored skin, and dark orange flesh with a sweet flavor.
Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash
  • Acorn Squash: Small and round with deep vertical ridges, has green skin with a yellow-orange flesh and a sweet, somewhat nutty flavor.

    Acorn Squash
    Acorn Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash: Oblong with ivory-yellow skin and yellow, spaghetti-like flesh. It has become a popular spaghetti substitute for people trying to reduce their carbohydrate intake.
Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash

Winter squash is full of good-for-you nutrients, including the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C, the blood pressure lowering mineral potassium, and lots of dietary fiber. A starchy vegetable, winter squash contains more calories than non-starchy veggies, but don’t let that dissuade you from enjoying it. Just make sure to count it as a starch on your plate. 1 cup of baked winter squash provides you with 80 calories, 18 g carbohydrates, 5.5 g fiber, 2 g protein, 1 g fat.

Coming up later this week I have a winter squash recipe you won’t want to miss! What’s your favorite type of winter squash?

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  1. I LOVE spaghetti squash- so good with either a little tomato sauce and feta cheese or just olive oil and garlic. Its just a big mess preparing it but worth it

  2. Very interesting that spaghetti squash is a good substitute for the pasta spaghetti…I will need to eat more of it as I seem to make acorn or butternut instead. Thanks for the tip.