Winter squash: What are the benefits and uses?

Published 7:59 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Butternut, pumpkin, spaghetti, kabocha, acorn — winter squashes are abundant at this time of year. Unlike summer varieties that are picked when they’re young and tender, winter types are best when left to mature on the vine. Their long growing season allows them to become sweet and develop a thick, hard skin that means they can be stored for up to six months.

While these veggies — technically fruit — come in different sizes, shapes and flavors, they all have one in common: their amazing health benefits.

Not only are winter squashes high in fiber and antioxidants, they’re also excellent sources of potassium and vitamin A. Additionally, they contain important minerals such as copper, iron and magnesium as well as a number of B-complex vitamins.

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Winter squash is a versatile ingredient that can be used in soups, stews, pies, muffins and more. You can stuff and bake them or cut them thinly and roast them to make chips.

Just like their summer cousins, winter squash blossoms are delicious in a salad or stuffed and fried.

However you prepare yours, don’t forget to roast the seeds — they make a nutritious and tasty snack.