Featured at the Winter Farmers’ Market: Winter Squash

At each Winter Farmers’ Market, we feature a seasonal vegetable and provide tips on buying, storing and cooking them. This week, for our December 10th market, we’re highlighting winter squash. Seven vendors will be bringing a wide variety of winter squash, and you’ll see the familiar butternuts and acorns, as well as marina di chioggia and hidasta. Be sure to pick up one of our recipe cards at the market this Saturday. See you in Exeter!With their bright colors, sweet favor and versatility, winter squash are the delight of the cold-weather kitchen. New Englanders are accustomed to pureeing winter squash for thick soups, mashing for side dishes, sauteing with garlic and onions, or roasting to tender perfection and baking into pie shells.

Purchasing: Select any squash without any dark, soft spots. Many squash are naturally bumpy, and different varieties vary greatly in color, size, shape and flavor. Ask your farmer about what each variety is best used for (pies, soups, roasting). Many farmers at our markets grow heirlooms, varieties that have been grown in New England throughout history.

Storing: Refrigerate cut pieces, but the fridge is too humid for whole squash. Winter squash store best at a cool room temperature (50 – 60 degrees F) in dry conditions (60 – 70% relative humidity).

Cooking and Eating: Medium sized varieties (buttercup, red kuri, kabocha) can be halved and roasted, cut-side down at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.Thin-skinned varieties (acorn, butternut, delicata) can be peeled prior to cooking. Larger and harder varieties (hubbard, turban) can be opened by using a sharp cleaver to split the rind, or by driving a chef’s knife into the squash with a mallet. Once it is split, it can be banged on a hard surface and pulled apart.


– Spiced Winter Squash with Fennel

– Acorn Squash Soup with Kale

– Roasted Squash, Pear, and Ginger Soup

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