There’s something about the start of fall that’s really amazing. I think it’s the way that it slowly starts, right now we’re wearing layers and looking forward to afternoon sun, we still have some summertime crops to enjoy, and we’re just beginning the fall harvest. Our crew is working hard harvesting over 20 acres of winter squash!!! This year we are growing 5 varieties, and they each have their own unique flavor, while they still have somewhat similar characteristics. Once you break down a winter squash the possibilities are endless. Pureed into soup, stuffed, roasted, steamed, the list goes on. Here we’ll go over the basics on getting started with any winter squash that you find in your CSA share or pick-up at the Farmers’ Market.
Delicata is typically the first squash to make it out of the field and into the CSA shares. The skin of delicata can be eaten as well as the flesh, making it very easy to prepare. Slice in half and scoop out the seeds, then cut in slices, and roast. Scoop out the seeds, roast the squash halves, and stuff with a grain mixture. Peel if you prefer and add to soups and stews. Delicata pairs well with apple, onion, and savory herbs like thyme and sage.
Butternut squash is a favorite, and definitely familiar to most of our CSA members. The peel of butternut squash is also edible, although it is tougher than delicata and most often removed before preparing. Use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler to remove the skin if dicing the flesh of the squash for a recipe like roasting. The seed end of the butternut squash can be stuffed. I usually separate the longer part, to use peel and dice, then reserve the seed end for stuffing. The flesh of butternut squash is firm, and can also be grated for dishes like Butternut Squash Risotto.
Does anyone else remember eating acorn squash smothered in butter and brown sugar? While I typically switch it up with maple syrup as an adult, it’s still a nostalgic favorite. Acorn and sweet dumpling squash are usually sliced in half, seeds scooped out, and then baked with seasoning and served in wedges. The skin is tougher and not recommended for eating. The yellow-orange flesh of these squash can also be pureed into soups and stews after baking. They are of course excellent for stuffing!
Spaghetti squash is filled with a flesh that resembles, well spaghetti! To prepare spaghetti squash, remove the stem end, and then slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400F for about 30 minutes until the squash halves are very soft and the flesh easily comes out. Fluff with a fork and then mix with fillings for stuffing, sauté with onions and garlic, or anything else you can think of! Makes a great sub for pasta – gluten free and paleo friendly!
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