From now through October is the growing season for winter squash and all varieties keep well through the winter months.

There are about a dozen varieties of winter squash but the most common ones in Indiana are Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti Squash and Pumpkin. The flesh of most winter squash is bright orange and the flavors are mild, which makes them a tasty way to use fresh herbs like sage and warm spices like ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg in cooking.

All winter squash is rich in nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium and low in calories. One cup of baked squash contains only 56 calories.

All you need to prepare winter squash is a sharp knife, cutting board and a baking pan. The protective outer shell of winter squash can be tough, so cut a flat place on one side to prevent slipping, put squash on a cutting board, and keep fingers back from the cutting area.

After cutting, remove the seeds and pulp with a spoon, and discard. Always wash squash before cutting to prevent cross contamination. Here is a recipe for roasting the dark green and orange Acorn Squash.

Easy Acorn Squash Roast

You will need:

• One or two Acorn Squash, rinsed and cut in half

• One small sweet onion, diced

• One tablespoon fresh sage, minced or 1 teaspoon dried sage

• Two tablespoons olive or canola oil

• Salt and pepper

Steps:

• Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

• Rinse outer surface of squash well under running water and pat dry.

• Cut squash in half, remove, and discard pulp using a spoon.

• Place cut squash in baking pan with cut side up.

• Rub the orange flesh with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

• Sprinkle diced onion and minced or dried sage over the top.

• Place in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until tender when pricked with a fork.

• Remove from oven, slice, and serve hot as a side dish.

Each squash half makes about two servings depending on the size.

For more information about choosing and preparing vegetables, contact Janet Steffens, Purdue Extension Educator in Floyd County at jsteffens@purdue.edu.

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