Winter Squash – food facts
Winter squash includes several varieties, including acorn, butternut, & Hubbard squash, as well as pumpkins. The squash are allowed to fully ripen, so their hard skin allows them to be stored well into the winter.
Related: Gourds; also summer squash, including crookneck, zucchini, & several varieties of yellow squash.
Harvest season in the LV: Late September into November.
Growing conditions: Warm soil (not frost-tolerant)
Pollination: Squash are normally pollinated by bees, but can also be hand-pollinated.
Cooking/Preparation required: After removing the seeds, squash is usually baked, sometimes stuffed with rice and/or other vegetables.
Fertilizers or pesticides: No pesticides should be used for home growing; commercial winter squash — and zucchini and other summer squash — are frequently contaminated with toxic pesticides, including carcinogens & endocrine disruptors. Some squash is grown from GMO plants, so you may want to consider buying organic.
Nutrients: High in vitamin A & C, potassium, fiber, with smaller amounts of a variety of other key nutrients.
Nutrient content can vary greatly depending on soil conditions, with organic methods and a soil rich in organic matter generally producing the best results.
‘Dirty Dozen’ or ‘Clean Fifteen’ ratings do not necessarily apply to produce grown on local farms — you need to check with the farmer to determine if and when any fertilizers or pesticides were applied.