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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Squash Season

Squash Season

One of the oldest known crops to mankind is squash. Squash gets its name from the Narragansett Native American word “askutasquah,” which means “eaten raw or uncooked.” Technically, squash is a fruit, but for cooking purposes is considered a vegetable. There are many types of squash, which typically fall into two categories: summer squash and winter squash.

Summer squash are immature fruits with soft, edible rinds. They do not store well and must be refrigerated and eaten within a few days. Summer squashes require short cooking times or may be eaten raw. Varieties include yellow summer, cousa, pattypan or “scallop,” yellow crookneck, and zucchini.

Winter squash are harvested after the fruit and seeds have matured and the rind has hardened. Winter varieties are typically cooked before eating. Unlike summer squashes, winter squashes are best kept at room temperature and may be stored for long periods of time. Winter squashes include butternut, acorn, spaghetti, buttercup, carnival, delicata, hubbard, and turban.

With autumn in full force and the holidays on their way, take advantage of the abundance of winter squash, and try these tempting seasonal recipes!

Butternut Squash Bake with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Crumb Topping

Butter for greasing pan
1 medium (about 2 1/2 pounds) butternut squash
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons rolled oats (quick or old-fashioned)
3 tablespoons cold butter

Quarter butternut squash lengthwise and cut off ends. Peel and scoop seeds out. Slice thinly and place in large bowl. In another bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of brown sugar mixture over squash slices; toss to coat, then place into greased 11×7-inch baking dish or shallow 2-quart casserole dish. Add flour and oats to remaining brown sugar mixture; cut in cold butter until well combined. Sprinkle crumb mixture over squash. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

Stuffed Turban Squash

One (3-pound) turban squash
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1/2 pound pork sausage
1/4 cup soft breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cut top off turban squash (cutting a lid like you would for a jack o’lantern). Remove seeds and pulp. Place squash, cut side down, on oiled or foil-lined baking sheet. Cover squash with foil. Roast 50 to 60 minutes or until tender. Scoop out cooked pulp and save squash cavity for serving. In saucepan, sauté onions, celery, sausage, and carrot in butter until meat is done and vegetables are tender. Drain grease. Stir in brown sugar, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and cooked squash. Spoon mixture into cavity of turban squash and cover with squash lid. Bake squash with filling at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Serve hot.

Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds and pulp. Place squash, cut sides down, onto lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until sharp knife can be inserted with only slight resistance. Allow to cool slightly for handling. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion until tender. Add garlic and sauté an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook just until warm. Using large spoon, scoop out stringy pulp from squash; place in bowl. Toss with sautéed vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

Acorn Squash with Apple Raisin Stuffing

Boiling water
2 acorn squash
2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored, chopped
2 to 4 tablespoons raisins or coarsely chopped dried cranberries
3 to 4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons brown sugar

In large baking dish or jelly roll pan, pour in around ¼-inch of boiling water. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and pulp. Place squash halves, cut sides down, in baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients. Stuff center of each squash half with apple mixture. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until apples and squash are tender. Stir each squash center lightly before serving. Makes 4 servings.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.