Winter squash comes in numerous shapes, sizes and flavors. It is considered one of the most popular vegetables harvested in the fall and, properly stored, can last for use throughout the winter. Thanks to its ease for overwinter storage, nutritional value and versatility in the kitchen, winter squash is one of the best vegetables for institutional food purchasing. Whether used in soups, steamed, stuffed, roasted or baked into pies, cookies or muffins, the only limiting factor for using winter squash is one's imagination.
Facts and Tips
- Michigan ranks first nationally in total acres of winter squash production, third in fresh winter squash production, and first for winter squash processing.
- Squash are one of the oldest cultivated crops in the Western Hemisphere. Seeds found in Mexico have been dated as far back as 10,000 years.
- Winter squash can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to three months. Squash stores best with part of the stem still attached to help retain moisture. Once cut open, store squash wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to four to five days.
- Winter squash is a tasty source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, potassium, niacin, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and beta-carotene.
Use the resource list below to locate and purchase Michigan winter squash to serve in your institution.