Squash season is officially here and I couldn’t be more pleased. From soups and salads to main courses and desserts, this versatile gourd is practically an essential ingredient for fall. High in fibre and low in fat, plus rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamin A and vitamin C, winter squash is the perfect way to add a burst of colour to the family table in the coming months.
There are more than twenty different kinds of squash, some more popular than others. Here is a brief guide to the more familiar types you might like to cook with:
Acorn: Usually 1-2 pounds in size and shaped like an acorn. It doesn’t hold its shape well so it’s usually best baked or steamed. It’s light on flavour but adds a hint of sweetness to any dish.
Butternut: Averaging between 2-5 pounds, this bell shaped squash is sweet and nutty and can be steamed, sautéed, baked or braised. It also makes an excellent replacement for pumpkin in baked goods and desserts.
Delicata: This small, cucumber shaped squash is pale yellow with green stripes. The skin is soft so it doesn’t need to be peeled and the flavour is similar to sweet corn, with a texture not unlike summer squash. It slices easily and is best when steamed or baked. It holds its shape well and is great for stuffing.
Spaghetti: This yellow squash is names for the spaghetti-like strands that separate from the skin when cooked. It doesn’t have much flavour on it’s own but is an excellent vehicle for assorted pasta sauces.
When you purchase squash is should be firm to the touch and the skin shouldn’t have any give to it. Designed for storage, most squash can be kept in a cool place for up to six months. Delicata and spaghetti squashes are an exception, and they should be eaten within three weeks.
Three Ways to Savour the Flavour of Squash
Here are three delicious ways to serve squash to your family this fall: