I am going to admit this here, but pllllease don’t laugh. When we were thinking about our first garden, I thought winter squash had to grow in the winter. I didn’t read the seed packages and I learned later….too late for that season….that isn’t exactly how winter squash got it’s name.
Winter squash come in several different varieties. And as I found out the hard way, winter squash is not actually grown in the winter. It is grown through the summer and harvested in the Fall. However, it can typically be stored (if in the proper conditions) through the winter. Winter squash, unlike summer squash, is harvested when its skin is hardened. This trait is what helps it to be able to be stored for a period of time – ya know, like through the winter.
There are so many types of winter squash, you really can plant a wide variety of the squash in your garden to get various shapes, sizes, colors and tastes. We always factor in a lot of room in our garden for squash when we do our garden planning.
Both Winter and summer squash are so versatile, they are a must for any good vegetable garden. You can use squash in so many different recipes – they can be the main dish or they can substitute for a more starchy ingredient. Really, you can’t ever have enough!
Here are 5 types of winter squash that are great to grow:
1. Acorn Squash – acorn squash is a small, acorn shaped squash. They are a deep, dark green in color and will develop one orange spot on their outer rind. Acorn squash have a sweet flavor. They are great to eat simply baked with a little butter and nutmeg or cinnamon sprinkled on top.
2. Butternut Squash – butternut squash is a medium sized squash. They are shaped sort of like a bell (smaller at top and larger and rounded at their bottoms). They are a pale beige color on the outside. Butternut squash are great in soups. They also are delicious just simply baked like acorn squash.
3. Small Sugar Pumpkin – small sugar pumpkins look like what you are probably imagining. They are a small (around 5 pounds), orange pumpkin. These small sugar pumpkins are fantastic for making pie filling. You can grow several, bake them up, scoop out their flesh and freeze it to use throughout the year in pies.
4. Spaghetti Squash – spaghetti squash are maybe the coolest of the winter squash. Like their name would lead you to believe, their flesh when cooked scoops out and looks like spaghetti noodles. Spaghetti squash is great for using in place of noodles in any dish. It has a more bland flavor than some of the other winter squashes, so just add in the flavors you want in your dish and this squash will take those on.
5. Buttercup Squash – buttercup squash are smaller squash (around 4 pounds or so) with a dark green outer rind. Their outer rind also has some yellow-ish stripes on it. Buttercup squash are great for baking or steaming.What are your favorite types of winter squash? Drop us a comment below and let us know!