Any fan of Family Style with Chef Jeff knows that the fresher the ingredients, the better the dish will turn out. It just so happens that we are in prime season for the freshest winter squash you can imagine. In the clip below, Chef Jeff whips up some cubed acorn squash, a perfect example of the delicious winter produce.
Along with the acorn variety, there are several other types of squash you’ll find in stores this time of year. Check out a few other seasonal varieties below, as well as some of the best ways to serve them at your dinner table.
Just like the one in the clip above, acorn squash is smaller in comparison to other types with ridged skin in shades of dark green and orange. The inside is yellow and fibrous with a semi-sweet, nut-like flavor.
Acorn squash is chock full of vitamins and nutrients, particularly eyesight-boosting beta-carotene and vitamins B6 and C. A heaping plate of acorn squash may just be your best defense against the winter flu that’s plaguing the office. You can peel, cube, and sauté the flesh like Chef Jeff demonstrated in the clip, or use a number of different options to cook the squash. Roast, bake, steam, microwave, sauté or use in soups and chili. When it comes to preparing winter squash, acorn squash is among the most versatile, so your imagination is the only limit!
More On Z Living: RECIPE: Chef Jeff's Sweet Potato & Acorn Squash Soup
You’ve likely seen this oblong, pear-shaped squash in grocery stores, but if you’re like me, you might not have had a clue what exactly it is or how to cook with it. It’s skin is usually smooth, in a pale-cream colored tone, while the inside of the squash is bright orange. It’s rich in vitamins A and E and a great source of magnesium and manganese, which are both essential players in healthy brain and muscle function.
Butternut squash is another relatively versatile ingredient in the kitchen. Much like acorn squash, it can be cooked in almost any method you can think of (although it makes a delicious, creamy puree for soups!). The dense, nutty flesh is a great canvas for almost any flavor - bacon, brown sugar, and vinegars are all exciting flavor choices to enhance the butternut squash.
More On Z Living: How To Make Spaghetti Squash Casserole
No, this winter produce isn’t made of pasta, but it sure makes a tasty (and low-carb!) substitute for it! The spaghetti squash is oval in shape with firm, smooth skin ranging in color from pale to bright yellow. It get’s its name from the fibrous inner flesh that, when cooked, can be separated into strands that resemble spaghetti noodles! It’s mild in flavor, making it a great carrier for spicy marinara sauces or salty, melted cheese (hey, being healthy is all about compromise!).
However you decide to dress it up, spaghetti squash is beyond easy to prepare. Simply pierce the skin with a paring knife a healthy number of times and place in the oven on a baking sheet. 400°F for about an hour (until you can easily insert a fork through the skin and well into the flesh) is all it takes, then cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and scrape those delectable strands out with the tines of a fork. Oh, and spaghetti squash packs a punch of vitamin A and beta-carotene with way less calories than traditional pasta. Enjoy!
Meet the hubbard squash: the giant, formidable winter squash that is sure to draw double takes as you wheel it proudly through the grocery store in the front of your shopping cart.
Fear not, this large-and-in-charge squash is relatively easy to use (aside from it’s size, which ranges from 8-20 lbs!) and is rich in vitamin A and C and virtually fat free. Whether you buy the whole squash or the pre-cut and seeded variety, hubbard squash is delicious cubed and roasted with fresh herbs, or pureed in creamy soups, or mashed in sweet squash pies. Seriously, this humongous healthy produce is a must-try on your seasonal meal rotation.