Winter squash (includes acorn, buttercup, butternut, and Hubbard varieties) is rich in Vitamin A (beta-carotene), dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), and potassium. It is naturally low in calories, fat, and sodium which makes it a perfect canvas for your healthy fall recipes. Here is a bit more about these winter squashes.
Choose firm, well-shaped squash that are heavy for their size and have a hard, tough skin. Do not choose those that have sunken or moldy spots. Avoid squash with cuts or punctures in the skin. Also, slight variations in skin color do not affect flavor. A tender rind indicates immaturity, which is a sign of poor quality in winter squash varieties.
Since winter squash is harvested mainly during the time that pumpkins are harvested, they need to be planted in the late summer months (August to September). Harvesting would then occur from October to November.
When harvesting winter squash, handle them carefully to avoid cuts and bruises. These injuries are not only unsightly, they provide entrances for various rot-producing organisms. Cut the fruit off the vine with pruning shears. Leave a 1-inch stem on each fruit.
After curing, store winter squash in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location. Storage temperatures should be 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not store squash near apples, pears, or other ripening fruit. Ripening fruit releases ethylene gas which shortens the storage life of squash.
When properly cured and stored, the storage lives of acorn, butternut, and hubbard squash are approximately 5 to 8 weeks, 2 to 3 months, and 5 to 6 months, respectively.
Iowa State University Extension. Harvesting and Storing Winter Squash. Richard Jauron.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Food Technology & Processing – Winter Squash. Aggie Horticulture.