Depending on where you live, fresh vegetables may seem scarce in the dead of winter, but that’s exactly when many squashes shine. Winter squashes are typically harvested between September and October, but when stored properly, many varieties can last through winter, depending on the Old Farmer’s Almanac. These hearty counterparts of the thin-skinned summer zucchini tend to be larger, with thicker skins and ripe seeds, like their more famous members, pumpkins and butternuts. But there are many other varieties, each with its own look and flavor, depending on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Best of all, the seeds of these winter squashes are edible, so you can bake them and enjoy every nutritious morsel of squash!
Many winter squashes, especially those with orange flesh, are a source of powerful antioxidants called carotenoids, and most varieties contain notable amounts of vitamins B6 and C, fiber, magnesium and potassium, notes the Harvard Public School Health. A diet high in fruits and vegetables, such as winter squash, has been shown to help lower blood pressure and blood sugar and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. . A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in November 2021 found that eating potassium-rich foods, such as winter squash, while minimizing sodium lowers the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Although winter squash is best known for being roasted and pureed in soups, it’s incredibly versatile in the kitchen, with a mild flavor that makes it an easy addition to both sweet and savory dishes. And the sheer number of types ensures you’ll never get bored of fitting them into your menu rotation. The following nine recipes will help you learn to love these delicious and incredibly nutritious winter vegetables and all they bring to the table.
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