Tasty and nutritious, winter squash is better served on your plate than placed in your holiday centerpiece. From the popular pumpkin to lesser-known varieties like Hubbard and kabocha, winter squashes are nutrient powerhouses that add a sweet and tender note to main courses and sides
Like most other bright-orange vegetables, squash is full of vitamins A, K, C, and E, and carotenoids. And although, as a starchy food, squash is high in carbohydrates, its starches contain pectin, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. These nutritious vegetables are also good sources of two trace minerals that the typical American diet is often low in: manganese, which strengthens bones and connective tissue, and potassium, which regulates the body's levels of sodium. Winter squash contains omega-3 fatty acids as well as folic acid (folate) and vitamin B6, which build the red blood supply and help the body break down protein.
Winter Squash Primer
Learn your way around the varieties of winter squash:
Attributes: Mellow flavor; holds shape when cooked
How to Cook: Use in stir-fries, soups, or holiday pies.
Attributes: Flavorful, with a fun shape to halve and bake
How to Cook: Stuff with rice and vegetables; bake, steam, or add to a spicy curry.
Attributes: Dense, grainy flesh with a nutty taste
How to Cook: Roast whole and serve with butter and salt.
Attributes: Large, with thick grey-green rind
How to Cook: Serve mashed with holiday spices like ginger, allspice, and nutmeg.
Attributes: Sweet enough to be dessert, with an edible rind
How to Cook: Slice in half and cut into C-shaped pieces. Roast and serve tossed with maple syrup.