Here’s the beauty of fall squash. You can keep your preparation incredibly simple and still enjoy the maximum amount of flavor.
“Just split the fall squash in half,” suggests Culinary Vegetable Institute Chef Jamie Simpson, “and then remove the seeds. Place the squash halves on a sheet tray with the flesh side down. This speeds up cooking time by automatically creating steam pockets that cook the squash while the outer shell protects it from drying out or burning.”
How long you’ll want to cook the fall squash, he shares, depends upon your final application. If you intend to eat the squash after roasting it or you’ll use it as part of a diced veggie dish, you won’t want to cook it all that long. If you’re making squash soup or a puree, then you’ll want to keep cooking until all is soft.
You can also cook the squash on high heat through grilling, searing, browning, blackening, or charring. “Squash has natural sugars and their flavors come out with high heat.”
Plus, because fall squash has a fair amount of starch, something that differentiates this crop from summer squash, you can shave the neck of a butternut squash and then fry the shavings into flavorful chips.
Delicious Fall Squash Recipes
Look at these flavorful squash recipes and try ones that intrigue you:
- Roast Squash with Curried Lentils and Rice
- Squash Toasts
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts Harvest Mix
- Warm Spinach Fall Harvest Salad
- Fall Squash Soup
- Fall Squash with Apple Cider Reduction, Sage, and Thyme
- Warm Spinach Fall Harvest Salad with Acorn Squash
“Plus,” Jamie adds, “remember that, although not everyone eats fall squash raw, you certainly can. You can shave it and put it in a salad with bitter greens, pecans, and so forth. Or you can use raw squash as a carrot replacement in a crudités plate.”
Mixed Fall Squash
When you order our mixed fall squash, you’ll probably notice how different varieties come with different nuances of flavor. “They can range from the brassy, bright, and acidic varieties,” Jamie says, “to ones that are dense, dark, and buttery and others that are almost spicy.”
Culinary possibilities are endless!
So . . . Is Squash a Fruit or Vegetable?
You may have noticed that we haven’t referred to fall squash as a vegetable. That’s because, scientifically speaking, it’s a fruit because it carries seeds and comes from a flower. When it comes to cooking fall squash, though, it’s treated like it’s a vegetable.
Health Benefits of Fall Squash
We recently delved into the subject of fall squash at The Chef’s Garden, a blog post that includes insights into the health benefits of fall squash, thanks to its vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. We shared information from medical sites that note how this food can help to:
- Protect people from cancer
- Improve eye health
- Enhance skin health
- Manage blood sugar
- Counteract the impact of salt on blood pressure
- Protect your heart
Its vitamin B6 may even help people to avoid becoming depressed—and there’s enough vitamin A in butternut squash to meet (even exceed) a person’s daily requirements.
Jamie has one more piece of advice. When it’s the season for freshly harvested fall squash, you should enjoy it in multiple ways, also preserving extra squash in your freezer and in mason jars for delicious eating, year-round.