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WHAT’S IN SEASON NOW: Winter squash!
The calendar may say fall, but winter squash – which is actually a summer-growing annual vegetable available in the late summer, fall and winter seasons – is here. The vegetable comes in many shapes and sizes, but all varieties have hard outer rinds that surround sweet, often-orange flesh. Unlike summer squash, winter squash must be cooked. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to prepare and can be enjoyed with cinnamon and maple syrup (for those with a sweet tooth) or, for a savory treat, steamed and dressed with olive oil, soy sauce, ginger and pumpkin seeds.
DID YOU KNOW?
Every part of the squash plant can be eaten, including the leaves and shoots, which are often used in omelets and soups. Even the seeds from winter squash are edible; they make a great snack and are similar in taste to pumpkin seeds. In Placer County, winter squash can be purchased at farmers’ markets held year-round in Auburn and Roseville; also, it’s available at Pilz Produce in Auburn, Willow Creek Ranch in Penryn, Otow Orchard in Granite Bay, and at Natural Trading Company and Newcastle Produce in Newcastle.
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
The best winter squash are firm and heavy for their size with a dull rind. It’s ideal to store winter squash at temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you cut the squash, it should be covered in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator where it can be kept for one to two days. If you plan to display the beauties in your home, they can usually be kept for up to six weeks.