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WA Grown Food Kit For Winter Squash

Winter squash comes in many varieties and sizes. Unlike its summer counterparts, winter squash is harvested at a mature age, which makes the skin hard and inedible. The skin, however, is protective and increases its storage life. Winter squash can be stored for 3 months or longer. Winter squash is a summer-growing annual fruit.

The yellow and orange flesh of the winter squash is more nutritious and richer in vitamins, such as beta-carotene, than summer squash. Winter squash is always served cooked and, because of its tough skin, only the inside flesh is eaten.

Varieties:

  • Acorn: Acorn-shaped squash is one of the most widely available among the small winter squash. It measures about 6 inches around and weighs 1 to 2 pounds. Baking is an excellent way to bring out the flavors of this squash. 
  • Banana: This squash comes in three varieties: blue, orange, and pink. Among the three varieties, the pink banana is the most common in the United States. This large, thick-skinned cylindrical squash averages 20 inches long and weighs around 12 pounds. It is so large that it is usually sold in chunks instead of whole.  
  • Buttercup: This stocky squash is 6 to 8 inches in diameter, averaging 2 to 4 pounds. Its popularity stems from its sweet and creamy orange flesh. Its shortcoming is that it tends to be a bit dry. Baking or steaming can solve this problem; the dry flesh becomes smooth and tastes similar to a mixture of honey, roasted chestnuts, and sweet potato. Even more than baking, steaming softens the flesh and creates a thick puree.
  • Butternut: This elongated bell-shaped squash measures about a foot long and weighs an average of 2 to 4 pounds. Its popularity is due to its meaty, yet moderately sweet golden orange flesh. Because of its thin skin, this squash can easily be skinned with a vegetable peeler, which makes it easy to cut and prepare. Baking enhances its sweet, moist, and nutty flavors. Butternut squash is usually available from August through March.
  • Hubbard: This tear-shaped squash comes in several varieties: green (true), golden, blue, and baby blue. It ranges from dark green to orange and weighs from 5 to 50 pounds. Green hub bards are thick, sweet, and dry. Golden Hubbard—a smaller squash than the green or blue—are fairly sweet, but have a bitter aftertaste.
  • Spaghetti: This oval-shaped yellow squash is also called the vegetable spaghetti. It averages 9 inches in length and may weigh 2 to 3 pounds. When cooked, the crisp, tender, spaghetti-like strands yield a mild lightly sweet and fresh taste.
  • Sweet Dumpling: This solid round squash, formerly known as the vegetable gourd, is a perfect serving for one person. It is about the size of an apple and weighs up to 1 pound. The skin is a warm cream color striped with ivy green, and it changes to butter color and orange during storage. The skin is relatively tender and can be eaten. The pale-yellow flesh is smooth, fine, and dry as a potato and produces a rich starchy, light to mild sweetness, with a slight corn flavor.

www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov

 

Washington Harvest Winter Squash Poster [FREE download]

WA Harvest Winter Sq PosterClick to view the full-size PDF. The poster is designed to be printed at either 11" x 17" or 2' x 3'.

Highlight Washington-grown winter squashes served in your program with this beautiful poster! The poster provides nutrition facts under "THRIVE", agriculture information under "GROW", and tips for preparation, cooking, and fun facts, etc. under "TASTE". 

Special thanks to Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Department of Agriculture for sharing their poster files, from which many of the food facts were adapted, and to Walla Walla Public Schools Nutrition Services for helping us update and add new facts for Washington State.


School Recipes

  • Confetti Turkey Pocket
  • Butternut Rice Pilaf
  • Student Choice Broccoli and Pasta - HUSSC
  • Gold-n-Honey
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Child Care Recipes

For Child Care Recipes click here.

Nutrition Facts

Squash is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. A one-cup serving of winter squash provides about half of the daily requirement of vitamin C, and 4.5 times the daily requirement of vitamin A.

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