Agriculture Seasonal Recipes

December 19, 2014 at 8:00 am

Putting Up your Fall Harvest: Winter Squash

This series is for farmers, gardeners, or anyone overloaded with produce. Written by Monica Johnson, a woman who farmed her way from Brooklyn, NY to her current home in Deep East Texas, “Putting Up Your Harvest” is full of tips and tricks to keep your food waste down and your culinary enjoyment lasting throughout the colder seasons. Enjoy these clever ways to preserve your fruitful harvest.

Winter squash is grown in the summer, but harvested in the fall. It is different from summer squash because it is eaten in the mature stage, whereas summer squash is eaten while still young (think about the thickness of the skin). Winter squash stores well and can be enjoyed in the winter. Some popular varieties are acorn, butternut, delicata and spaghetti.

Winter squash is low-calorie and a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. It is also a good source of vitamin A and C, manganese, folate, omega 3 fatty acids and beta carotene; you get the picture, it’s a chock full of healthy goodness!

I didn’t plant any winter squash this year. I’ll just have to settle for buying it from another local farmer, but plan to plant several varieties in 2015.

Credit: Tim Sackton

Credit: Tim Sackton

Here are six ways to enjoy winter squash year-round.

1. Freeze it. This works best with spaghetti squash. Cook it, let it cool and then freeze it. Take it out at a later date and once it’s reheated, top it with some pesto (that you made with dark leafy greens.) Ta-da: you have a healthy dinner!

2. Store it. This works best if you have some extra space or a cellar.

3. Can it, well sort of. It’s not recommended to can squash but you can make a wonderful squash butter that will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator or even longer in the freezer.

4. Make soup. Cut into cubes and add to almost any soup or puree it and make it the star ingredient.

5. Make Lasagna. As much as I love winter squash, I can get tired of eating it. Making lasagna is a fun twist on an old standard.

6. Make ice cream. Hey, we can’t be super-healthy all of the time; we have to have some fun with our food!

-Monica Johnson