Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Easiest No-Can, No Fuss Storage Vegetable!

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 I have been canning, freezing and drying for at least 20 years and if I can find a way to cut corners, I will.  One of the ways I do this is by growing a vegetable that not only tastes great and is super nutritious but is also self-storing...that makes this veggie is a keeper!

And grow it I did, lots of them!  At the end of November, I still have a large supply and they are keeping quite nicely so far, thank you very much.

What is this vegetable wonder?  Winter squash of course!  Yes, I know you are able to can and freeze them, but why should I when most of them will be perfectly fine on their own?  And right now with the holidays upon us, there is an abundance of winter squash available for sale and it's the perfect vegetable to keep for the months to come!

Spaghetti Squash and Delicata Squash

If you're not eating squash now or only at Thanksgiving, now is the time to reconsider.  Winter squash is a great source of the anti-oxidants, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene.  It also is loaded with Vitamin C (one-third of our daily allowance) and a very good amount of the antioxidant mineral manganese as well.

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"While winter squash should not be treated as a high-fat food, it does contain fats, including the anti-inflammatory omega-3s. One cup of baked winter squash will provide you with approximately 340 milligrams of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)."

Butternut Bush Variety

Nutrients in
Winter Squash
1.00 cup baked (205.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

 vitamin A - 214.1%
 vitamin C - 32.8%  fiber - 22.9%
manganese - 19% vitamin B6 - 16.5% potassium - 14.1%
 vitamin K - 11.2% folate - 10.2%
tryptophan - 9.3% copper - 8.5% vitamin B - 28.2%
omega-3 fats - 7.9% magnesium - 6.6%

Spaghetti Squash - Small Wonder Variety

Winter squash is pretty great for you and worth keeping through the winter.  How long does it last in storage?  Here are a few tips when buying squash for storage:

1. Make sure the fruit is bruise (no soft spots) and blemish-free.  
2. The winter squash with the hardest skins will generally last the longest.

Here are the varieties and their storage times:

Pumpkins at 50% to 70% humidity and 50 to 55 degrees - 2-3 months
Acorn at 50% to 75% humidity and  50 to 55 degrees - 5-8 weeks
Butternut at 50% to 70% humidity and 50 to 55 degrees - 2-3 months
Hubbards at 50% to 75% humidity and 50 degrees - 5-6 months
Spaghetti Squash at 50% to 70% humidity and 50 to 55 degrees - 2-3 months

However, I have kept all these squash with the exception of pumpkins WAY past these dates...especially spaghetti squash which I was able to keep all the way through spring with no loss of eating quality.

AND...I keep them in my 65+ degree utility room and not outside.  I do lose some but if I rotate them once in while and keep them fairly separate, they seem to do well.  I just watch for fruits that are beginning to get bad spots, refrigerate and use them up right away.   

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I also choose small varieties (like the small Blue Hubbard pictured above) so I can cook one up fast and have about 4-6 servings depending on the variety.  If I were to buy the monster sized ones, I hate to process them because it takes so long, but the small ones I can peel or cook quickly and eat them every week.  

I am loving our winter squash and have been cutting them up, sauteing them and including them in soups, stews, chilis and even our spaghetti sauce.  We love them and here's hoping you'll be able to store some of your own this winter...Blessings!!

What's your favorite winter squash? 


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  1. Hi Nancy! I agree, why can if you don't have to; it just doesn't make sense. I've never grown a few of these. I may try delicata in my garden next year. Thanks for an interesting post.Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks so much and have a great Christmas too!

  2. You must know I appreciate this post, right? ;) I'm featuring it tonight on the Waste Not Want Not party, thanks for sharing, Nancy!

  3. Hello Nancy what a great post. You have really encouraged me!! Thank-you. I am thinking that I should dry some as I don't have cool storage but I do have a dehydrator.
    Do you have any suggestions for dehydrating them?

    1. I know the Native Americans use to dry squash and use it but I never have because I just store mine. You can try storing your squash in the coolest section of your home or apartment. Just check them periodically and rotate them. We lay ours on a shallow cardboard box and rotate them once in awhile. I have just laid them on top of canned goods before to store and they've done well...especially butternut squash. :)

  4. We love winter squash, but rarely stock up on it. I had no idea you could keep it long at 65 degrees. That's great to know and will change how many we buy on our next shopping trip.

    1. I found out that they would last after I stored a few of them year after year. Actually the room they are in is even warmer at times and they still do well. Especially the hard skinned squash. Spaghetti squash has lasted the longest time with the least amount of loss of flavor and texture. Hope yours works out too!