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Winter Squash

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Winter squash specifically refers to a wide variety of squash species that have matured long enough so that their skin is hard and their seeds are larger and tougher to eat. Types of winter squash include; acorn, pumpkin, buttercup squash, butternut, and spaghetti squash, to name a few. The U.S. imports the most squash compared to the rest of the world, with Mexico supplying 90% of the country's squash. Fun Fact: It is believed that Christopher Columbus brought squash to Europe.

Nutritional Value

  • Vitamin A important for vision, bone development, and immune function
  • Vitamin C important for the immune system, healthy skin, and wound healing
  • Potassium helps lower blood pressure and helps muscles contract

How to Shop

When shopping for winter squash, look for those with no blemishes or soft spots and ones that make a hollow sound when tapping it.

How to Grow

Sow seeds in level ground 1 inch deep with seeds 2 to 3 feet apart. Or, sow 3 to 4 seeds close together in small mounds in rows 3 to 6 feet apart. When seedlings in rows are 2 to 3 inches tall, thin to one plant every 18 to 36 inches by snipping off unwanted plants without disturbing the roots of the remaining ones. Mulch to discourage weeds, retain moisture, and protect shallow roots. Water thoroughly, frequently, and consistently, with at least 1 inch per week. Winter squash and pumpkins are generally ready to be harvested in early- to mid-autumn, usually late September through October. To avoid disease, make sure you clean up old vines after harvesting.

How to Store

The best way to store winter squash is in a cool, dark and dry spot, similar to potatoes. It will hold up for at least a month, even longer depending on the variety and if your storage space is well ventilated.