Cooking Healthy with Winter Squash

Winter Squash epitomizes the abundant harvest of fall. In fact its beautiful golden color is reflective of the fall colors in nature. It's one of those comfort foods that people love to start enjoying when the air begins to have a chill in it. There is nothing like a hot bowl of butternut squash, or pumpkin soup to bring you into the season, not to mention our fondness for the Jack-o-Lantern at Halloween. It may surprise you that winter squash is also very beneficial to our health. This combination makes it a very desirable food to have in our diets.

Don't let their size or hardness of their shell intimidate you. Here are a few tips in cooking with winter squash:

  1. Winter squash is easily prone to decay, so it is important to carefully inspect it before purchase. Choose ones that are firm, heavy for their size and have dull, not glossy, rinds. The rind should be hard, as soft rinds may indicate that the squash is watery and lacking in flavor. Avoid those with any signs of decay, which manifest as areas that are water-soaked areas or moldy.
  2. After washing winter squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds and fibrous material in the cavity. Depending upon the recipe preparation, you can either use it peeled or unpeeled.

    Alternatively, pierce the squash near the stem with a knife to allow any steam to escape, then bake in a 350 oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until a knife can be easily inserted near the stem. As you would before carving a pumpkin, cut out a small circle around the stem, remove this piece from the squash, and scoop out the seeds and fibrous material in the cavity.

  3. We have an easy to follow animation on how to peel and cube butternut squash for steaming, or braising with other fall and winter ingredients. This is a good way to cook this squash for various applications, such as soups, as a side dish tossed with your favorite flavored sauce, or as a flavorful ingredient in stews.

Following is a great recipe in our recipe file that includes this wonderful food: Watch for other great recipes coming in our cookbook.

Golden Squash Soup

This page was updated on: 2002-11-22 08:32:17
© 2002 The George Mateljan Foundation