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winter SquashWinter Squash

Winter Squash is a cousin of the ubiquitous zucchini, but their growing patterns are different. Summer squash swell from blossom to fruit in a matter of days, while winter squash varieties absorb energy from the sun and soil for month on their way to harvest - no wonder they are such a good comfort food. The dense, sweet flesh of winter squash brings the light and warmth of a whole summer to your winter table.

At Three Rivers we grow three types of winter squash:
Acorn squash are dark, acorn-shaped with distinctive heavy ribbing. They are mildly sweet and have orange flesh. They do not store very well so we give these out early in the fall.
Delicata squash are oblong and cream-colored with dark green stripes and flecks along their length. Their highly sweet flavor makes them good for baking and also for stuffing. The skin is edible.
Butternut squash is the most recognizable with tan skin and a shape reminiscent of a peanut. They have bright orange flesh and are sweet and moist. Without anyone knowing the difference, butternut squash can be substituted for pumpkin pie and other pumpkin baked goods. Butternut stores very well.

Storage Info:

  • All winter squash should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation. A porch or garage can work well as long as you don’t let them freeze. 

Stuffed Acorn Squash (from Asparagus to Zucchini)

1 acorn squash
1 small onion, chopped
2 T oil
1 cup diced celery
1 bunch of bok choy or spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2-1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Halve squash; remove seeds. Place face down in a greased baking dish; bake until fork-tender, 25-45 minutes. Meanwhile, saute onion in oil until soft. Add celery; cover and simmer on medium heat until just tender. Stir in bok choy or spinach; cook until wilted. Stuff squashes with vegetable mixture.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs and salt. Bake 10-15 minutes. Makes 2-4 servings.


Mac & Cheese with Butternut (from Deceptively Delicious)

1.5 cups elbow macaroni
non stick cooking spray
1 T olive oil
1 T flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butternut squash puree
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8oz)
1/4 cup (4 oz) cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp pepper

To Puree Butternut: cut off stem and cut squash lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Roast the halves on a cookie sheet, flesh side down at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes (depending on size). Scoop out flesh and puree in a food processor or blender for 2 minutes.

To make Mac: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the macaroni, and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander. While the macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned, 1-2 minutes. Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3-4 minutes. Add the butternut squash puree, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and seasonings, and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the macaroni and serve!


Pumpkin Pie (from Asparagus to Zucchini)

Basic Pie Dough (9 inch shell)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups pumpkin or butternut puree
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk or heavy cream
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice

Preheat oven to 450. In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin puree and eggs. Add the evaporated milk and sugar, then the salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Beat until the mixture is smooth. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 and continue baking for 30-40 minutes, until the filling is almost set; a sharp knife will come out clean. Makes 8 servings.


Winter Squash Bars (from Simply in Season)

2 cups cooked, pureed winter squash
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
Beat together in a mixing bowl
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Mix in.
Pour into lightly greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. These bars freeze well.


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Three Rivers Community Farm         
Elsah, Illinois         


mailing address:
P.O. Box 122
Elsah, IL 62028 


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