The produce department right now has all the colors of fall on display with winter squash. Winter squash comes in a variety of shapes and colors and adds rich, fall color to autumn displays and to your table.
Squash is a good-for-you food that is low in calories and provides three grams of fiber for a half-cup serving. The orange-yellow flesh is a clue the squash is loaded with health benefits. It's rich in heart-healthy potassium and that deep orange-colored flesh is loaded with more vitamin A than you need for the entire day. Vitamin A is important for eye and skin health and may protect against cancer.
Choose squash that are heavy for their size, have a dull, blemish-free skin and have a hard rind. Squash can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to three months.
Varieties of Squash
Much sweeter than other winter squash varieties. Orange flesh is creamy and mild. Flavor similar to sweet potatoes. Appearance is flat and round with turban-shaped top and dark green color.
Softer than acorn and other types of winter squash. Easy to cut and prepare. Appearance is long, bell shape with tan-colored rind. Flesh is yellow-orange and mild, sweet flavor.
One of the most popular winter squash. Shaped like an acorn with black-green skin. Gold-color flesh is sweet. This squash can be cooked in the oven or the microwave.
Flavor is mild, slightly nutty. Combines well with other ingredients and flavors. Flesh when cooked separates into strands like spaghetti. Appearance is large and oblong shape with yellow, semi-hard rind. Try replacing your spaghetti noodles with this to cut the carbohydrate in your favorite pasta dish.
All you need
1 c. unpeeled tart apples, chopped
c. brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp. butter, melted
tsp. ground cinnamon
1 medium acorn squash, halved & seeded
Graham Crackers, crushed, optional
All you do
1. In a medium bowl, stir apples, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon to coat.
2. Place squash cut-side up in an 8-by-8-inch microwave-safe baking dish. Fill each half with about -cup apple mixture.
3. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
4. Microwave on HIGH for 20 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs before serving, if desired.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 150 calories, 3 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 33 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 22 g sugar, 35 mg sodium
Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.