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Squash

Encourage our Québec producers
Squash belongs to the gourd family. .There are two types of squash: summer squash and winter squash. With its fall colours and curious shapes, their sweet and irresistible flavor pleases everyone, including children.

Squash: An old vegetable

Squash is one of our oldest vegetables. In 1970, scientists found traces of it in the Ayacucho region of Peru that dated back to between 11,000 and 13,000 B.C. Squash belongs to the gourd family, which consists of trailing or climbing plants whose fruit are called pepos.

Description Storage Time Serving Suggestions
Butternut Squash (Musky Squash) Winter squash Soft, relatively sweet, deep orange flesh 4 to 10 months Slice thinly using a mandoline or sharp knife, pat dry and cook a few minutes in peanut oil to obtain golden chips
Spaghetti Squash Winter squash Fibrous, mild-flavoured flesh 4 to 10 months Cut in half, brush with oil and bake. Serve with your favourite spaghetti sauce in the cavity
Stripetti Squash
Acorn Squash Winter squash Fine, slightly fibrous, pale orange flesh with a hazelnut and pepper flavour 3 to 6 months Dice and add to vegetable and veal stew flavoured with red wine and Provençal herbs (halfway through cooking)
Buttercup Squash Winter squash Soft, sweet orange flesh 3 to 7 months Steam and add to mashed potatoes seasoned with chives and tarragon
Pattypan (Green Pattypan) Summer squash Whitish, slightly sweet flesh that tastes like artichokes 4 to 5 days Add to an Asian stir-fry at the beginning of cooking
Sunburst (Yellow Pattypan)
Pumpkin Winter squash Sweet, fragrant, bright orange flesh 2 to 4 months Cook in chicken stock, purée and season with curry to create a mouthwatering soup
Zucchini Summer squash Mild, slightly sweeter flavour and a slightly crunchy texture 4 to 5 days Grate and add to meatloaf
Miniature Zucchini

Winter squash

Characteristics

Generally sweeter than summer squash, with a hard, inedible rind that serves as protection

A sharp knife, a little patience and a lot of caution!

Although winter squash are small, they are nevertheless not easy to cut. Before starting, rinse and dry your squash first. Use a knife with a sharp blade and sturdy handle. Start at the top near the stalk and cut downwards using short strokes. Turn the squash around and repeat on the other side. Separate the two halves and remove the seeds and strings. Once you’ve peeled it, cut the squash according to your desired use. 


Our suggestions

Breakfast or snacks

Purée and include in muffin and cookie recipes.

Quick meal idea

Cook with parsnips and onions in chicken stock. Purée, then add a little milk to make delicious soup.

A more elegant meal

In a baking dish, alternate slices of squash with slices of potatoes and onions. Pour in a mixture of whipped eggs and milk. Add a little grated Gouda cheese and bake. This mouthwatering au gratin dish is superb as an accompaniment to grilled meat or poultry.

Snack Idea

What to do: Simply dry or roast them in the oven for a few minutes and eat plain or season to taste.

 

Summer squash

Characteristics

Mildly flavoured, with a soft, edible rind

Storage

These fragile vegetables don’t keep long and must be refrigerated. Storage time: 4 to 5 days.

How to Select

Opt for firm summer squash with no bruises.

Our suggestions

Pattypan
  • Sauté in a little oil with a few spices and serve as a vegetable side dish.
  • Add to stews or other simmered dishes just before serving.
Zucchini
  • Slice and cook in a pan with diced tomatoes and basil. Serve with poultry or fish.
  • Cut into sticks and serve as part of a raw veggie platter, or add to vegetable salad.
  • Grate and include in muffin or cake recipes along with chocolate chips.

Relevez le goût des courges…

  • avec des fines herbes parfumées telles que le cerfeuil, la ciboulette, le basilic, l’estragon, le thym et le romarin;
  • avec des épices relevées telles que le poivre, le cari et le curcuma.

Et la valeur nutritive dans tout ça?

La chair de la courge d’hiver contient une bonne quantité de bêta-carotène qui se transforme en vitamine A. Sa concentration est même plus élevée que celle de la carotte. On dit de ces substances qu’elles protègent de certains cancers. La courge est également riche en fibres et pauvre en calories. Elle constitue une bonne source de plusieurs vitamines et minéraux essentiels.

How to choose

  • Choose a firm squash that's heavy for its size, with an intact stem that's rigid and dry. Opt for medium-sized squash, relative to the variety. Smaller squash tends to be less tasty while bigger ones can be fibrous and stringy.
  • Squash comes in a large range of colours, so look for the ones with dark, matte tones. A winter squash with skin that's shiny or easily scratched is a squash that was probably picked too early before ripening.
  • Don't worry: it's normal for one side of the squash to be discoloured. It grows directly on the ground in the fields.
  • No need to be put off by the lumpy skin of certain squash varieties. They're every bit as delicious.
  • Finally, avoid squash with cracks or bruises unless you want to eat it right away.  

How to store them

  • Squash is one of the few fruits that not only continues to ripen after being picked, but also becomes sweeter and more nutritious.
  • Stored in a cool, dark place, squash will keep for up to three months depending on the variety. No need to put it in the fridge!
  • After three months of storage, it's best to peel and cube squash, blanch it for 2 minutes in boiling water, and then freeze it in a resealable bag.
  • Avoid lifting squash by its stem. It may detach without your noticing and then the squash will spoil quickly.
  • Once cut, cover unused squash with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to five days.

How to cook a squash

Squash can be steamed, baked, microwaved or boiled. Remember the following tips:

  • Steaming is best because it preserves all the flavour.
  • Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes*
  • Squash preserves all its nutritional value when baked at 180˚C (350˚F) unpeeled and cut in half with the seeds removed and a little oil added to the cavity. This method is ideal for spaghetti squash.
  • Cooking time: 40 to 60 minutes*
  • When microwaving squash, simply cut in half, remove the seeds and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes*
  • Boiling in water or another liquid yields less flavourful results and a very watery consistency. The liquid can be used for making soup.
  • Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes*

* Caution: This is an average cooking time. Your time may be longer or shorter depending on the size of your squash.

Gourmet tips

  • To cook any type of squash, just cut it in half, place it flat side down on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven at 200°C (400°F) for 30 to 45 minutes or until its flesh is tender.
  • To enhance its sweetness, place squash on a baking sheet and brush it with some locally produced maple syrup.
  • Purée squash as you would potatoes: add some butter, milk, salt and pepper... and your own personal touch.
  • For a different take on noodles, use a fork to separate the flesh of spaghetti squash. Serve with spaghetti sauce, pesto, or an Asian stir-fry.
  • Use the empty shell of a spaghetti squash as a lasagna dish by layering it with noodles, sauce, and cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and serve.
  • To prepare pasta-free lasagna, partially cook a butternut squash in the oven, and then peel and cut it into slices the thickness of lasagna noodles.
  • Looking for a quick side dish? Cut and then remove the seeds of an unpeeled acorn squash, drizzle on some maple syrup, and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 200°C (400°F) for about 20 minutes.

No more waste

  • At Halloween, don't throw away your hollowed out pumpkin. You can cook the inside and decorate the outside.
  • Leftover squash? Grate it to use in soups, bread, muffins, and cakes, or purée it for use as a thickener in soups and sauces.
  • Transform tough-skinned squash into a fondue pot, a spectacular soup tureen, or a bowl for serving rice pilaf, couscous, etc.

Roasting technique for seeds

Did you know that squash seeds can be roasted and served as a nutritious snack? Eat them soon after roasting because they're 100% natural and contain no preservatives.

  1. Wash the squash seeds under running water to remove the flesh attached to them.
  2. Dry them with paper towel or a dish towel.
  3. Season them to taste: use salt, tamari, curry powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper, cumin, etc.
  4. Bake in a 180°C (350°F) oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.