Winter squash is a great addition to fall menus


Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Bates County, University of Missouri Extension

Winter squash are prominently displayed at grocery stores in the fall and winter months. Many shoppers pass them by because they don’t know how to prepare them. Winter squash are actually easy to prepare and are a healthy addition to any meal.

Winter squash is a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. One-half cup of cooked winter squash has only 40 calories.

Winter squash is picked when it is fully mature and has a thick, inedible skin. This thick skin provides a protective covering for the squash and allows for a long storage life. Winter squash can be stored for three months or longer in a cool, dry place preferably in a single layer.

Three of the most common winter squash we see in Missouri are butternut, spaghetti and acorn squash.

  • Butternut squash is tan in color and has a long, bell-like shape.
  • Spaghetti squash is oblong or oval in shape and yellow in color.
  • Acorn squash has its name because it is actually shaped like an acorn. It is dark green in color and has a ridged rind or skin.

For more information on how to select and prepare winter squash, see the full version of this article at


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