How to Use All That Winter Squash

Ten ways to use all that winter squash

I planted a lot of squash this year, both summer and winter. The summer squash produced pretty well and after we enjoyed quite a bit of it fresh, I froze a lot more for winter stir-fries and other dishes. 

But I ended up with not a single winter squash from my garden. I hope you had better results than I did. I'm hoping next year will be better.

We bought a few pumpkins at a reduced price on November first, and I'm hoping to find some butternuts at the farmers market this weekend. 

Winter squash is so named because these vegetables will keep through the winter when stored properly. While summer squash are usually eaten when immature, winter squashes are harvested and eaten when the seeds have matured and the rind is hard.

Winter varieties are usually sweeter, firmer and denser than summer squashes. The most common are pumpkins, butternut and acorn squashes, but there are many others to be found at farmers markets or to grow in your own garden.

Low in both fat and calories, winter squash is a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. They also contain A, B and C vitamins, potassium, manganese, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, copper, tryptophan, iron and beta-carotene. As a general rule, the darker the squash's skin is, the more beta-carotene the squash contains.

If your squash plants did better this year than mine did, you might have a bumper crop of squashes to store and eat. I asked some of my blogging friends their favorite ways to prepare winter squash; here are their recipes. 

I had no idea that folks put squash in so many different dishes. As far as I knew, squash should be roasted and then smothered with butter and brown sugar. I'm looking forward to expanding my tastes. 

Photos are used with permission.

Photo used with permission by Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

If you want to see what a bumper crop of butternut squash looks like, check out the photos in Jes' post on curing and storing butternut squash. It boggles my mind, but I'd love to have so many.


Butternut squash recipe entree main dish, photo used with permission from The Speckled Goat.

Ally at The Speckled Goat makes butternut squash lasagna. She often makes two or four of these at a time and freezes them for future meals; her post gives freezing directions too.


White plate with colorful salad including orange squash, used with permission

Lynne at Sensible Gardening and Living says she and her husband eat a lot of butternut squash. They make a butternut squash salad with arugula, cherries and walnuts topped with Parmesan and a delicious-sounding dressing.


Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk; photo used with permission from The Rising Spoon.

At least I'd heard of butternut squash soup before. Elaina from The Rising Spoon makes hers with coconut milk, and suggests different seasonings to change up the taste.


Acorn squash

Bonnie Plants' website says that acorn squash shouldn't be cured, and that it stores the shortest length of time of any winter squash, just four weeks or so. They should be stored at temperatures less than 55°F. 

Freezing seems to be the best way to preserve acorn squash, and you'll find my directions for that right here: freezing acorn squash - plus how to save the seeds to plant next year.


Acorn Squash and Wild Rice Casserole via homework; Photo used with permission from Home Work.

Another casserole, this one with acorn squash and wild rice from Carolyn at Home Work. Casseroles are such an easy way to make dinner, and by varying the ingredients these two are so different from each other.


Orange Pecan Acorn Squash Recipe; photo used with permission from The Gingered Whisk

The ingredients in this orange, pecan, acorn squash dish from Jenni at The Gingered Whisk sound like dessert. It has to be good!


If, like millions of other cooks, your favorite way to use pumpkin is in pumpkin pie, you might like to know that you don't have to use evaporated milk in your pie recipe! I've often stood in front of the pantry, realizing I did not have a can of evaporated milk after I've already started mixing up the ingredients. Ack! 

Find out what you can use instead in this article: How to Make Pumpkin Pie Without Evaporated Milk.


Pumpkin bread

My favorite way to use pumpkins is in pumpkin bread. My mom's recipe for pumpkin bread is world-famous - you'll find out why in this post.


pumpkin-pie-recipe; photo used with permission from The Farmer's Lamp

Amber at The Farmer's Lamp also shares her tips for preserving pumpkin in a variety of ways, including dehydrating, canning and freezing.


Pile of pumpkins

This is how I preserve pumpkins most often (unless you count making pumpkin bread as a form of preserving). In November I can usually find pumpkins on sale quite cheap, and I turn them all into pumpkin puree - and the seeds turn into chicken feed.


You'll find more ideas for preserving vegetables, fruits and more here.

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A roundup of ideas and recipes for winter squash.

You might also enjoy:
10 Ways to Enjoy Summer Squash


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