It’s time to bid farewell to summer squash season (we <3 you zucchini). While everyone else is getting excited to welcome the cooler temps, fall foliage, and PSLs, we’re most pumped for the produce. Peak harvest for winter squash in the U.S. begins in November and lasts until December. These thick-skinned, dense fruits are members of the gourd fam and grow on sturdy vines. Winter squash goes wayyyy back—they’re said to have been cultivated in North America around 5,000 B.C.!
Bringing these hearty squashes home may seem intimidating at first. Pick out the ones that are heavy in your hand, firm to the touch, and are rich with color. Onto the next plight. …What knife could possibly slice through those chunky shells?! (P.S: an 8-inch chef’s knife should do the trick.) Once you crack one open, the autumnal recipe opportunities are endless. From creamy soups and garlicky roasts to sweet pies, these four squashes will carry you through the rest of the fall.
We’ll start with the star of the season. Pumpkin becomes the highlight of every drink, dinner, and dessert menu as it hits September 1st. (And mid-August at Dunkin’ if we’re lucky!) Pumpkins are the mascot of fall, the face of Halloween, and the epitome of cozy-weather comfort. You can buy tiny 1-pounders for decor, make the perfect pie out of a moderately sized squash, or marvel at the massive units at the country fair. A dead giveaway of the anti-oxidant, beta-carotene, comes from its iconic orange skin. Underneath the ribbed shell is fleshy meat and white seeds. It’s all edible and completely nutritious. Pumpkins are high in fiber, filled with vitamin A, and have a healthy dose of potassium. Get into the spirit by whipping up pumpkin bread, roasting the seeds with salt, or carving a spooky Jack-o-Lantern.
Pumpkin Nutrition Stats
Acorn squashes are on the smaller side, but make up for it in color. Their vibrant green skin and orange flesh make them perfect for decoration and mealtime deliciousness. A popular way to enjoy acorns is to halve them, stuff with veggies, and roast to golden perfection. Like their brothers and sisters, they also have a hefty amount of vitamin A, antioxidants, and fiber.
Acorn Squash Nutrition Stats
- Calories: 57
- Carbs: 15 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
This medium-sized squash screams Thanksgiving time. If you’re searching for butternut at the grocery store, you can spot them by their pale orange skin and pear-shaped body. Butternut squash boasts plenty of health benefits. They’re high in vitamin A and C, and they’ve also got a good dose of potassium, fiber, and magnesium. This squash has its very own soup and is served all over the country as soon as the first few leaves begin to fall. Butternut squash soup is typically made with squash puree, onion, sage, rosemary, nutmeg, and cream. If you want your house to smell like a fall wonderland, this soup is a sure-fire way to achieve that goal. You can also roast butternut squash cubes with garlic or cook up a really incredible risotto.
Butternut Squash Nutrition Stats
- Calories: 82
- Carbs: 22 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
Spaghetti squash has stolen the heart of many health foodies in recent years. Their insides naturally shred into strands, making them a fantastic stand-in for traditional spaghetti. Cut the squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and coat the halves with olive oil. Then stick them in the oven for around 30 minutes at 400*F. Once they’re ready, scrape a fork over the flesh for fresh spaghetti squash. If you’re short on time, you can get them pre-noodled! This low-cal alternative is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Add tender meatballs, marinara sauce, and sharp parm to top it all off!
Spaghetti Squash Nutrition Stats
- Calories: 42
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Fiber: 2.2 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
We hope we’ve sold you on squash. If you’re tentative to cook them up yourself, you can find most of them pre-cubed at the supermarket. And if you want to skip the trip and the meal prep altogether, try out our Protein Power Sausage Breakfast with Butternut Squash & Potato Hash or Masterful Mac & Cheese (featuring an oh-so sneaky butternut squash sauce). Happy Fall, y’all!