Winter squash are relatives of both the melon and the cucumber and come in many different varieties. While each type varies in shape, color, size and flavor, they all share some common characteristics. Their shells are hard and difficult to pierce, enabling them to have long storage periods between one and six months. Their flesh is mildly sweet in flavor and finely grained in texture. Additionally, all have seed-containing hollow inner cavities.
Winter squash is an excellent source of vitamin A. It is also a very good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese. In addition, winter squash is a good source of folate, omega-3 fatty acids, thiamin, copper, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, niacin and copper.
Storing / Preserving:
Winter squash should be kept away from direct exposure to light and should not be subject to extreme heat or extreme cold. The ideal temperature for storing winter squash is between 50-60°F (about 10-15°C). Once it is cut, cover the pieces of winter squash in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator, where they will keep for one or two days. The best way to freeze winter squash is to first cut it into pieces of suitable size for individual recipes
Preparation / Use Suggestions:
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. Quick serving suggestions:
Top puréed cooked winter squash with cinnamon and maple syrup; steam cubes of winter squash and then dress with olive oil, tamari, ginger and pumpkin seeds; top "strings" of spaghetti squash with pasta sauce; add cubes of winter squash to your favorite vegetable soup recipe.