A few hints for picking out winter squash for your holiday table. Plus, staff favorite recipes utilizing these wonderful winter vegetables (right).
- Choose squash that feel heavy for their size.
- Look for unblemished skinsa few nicks or areas encrusted with soil are fine, but moldy or moist spots are not.
- If the squash has a stem attached, see that it, too, is free of mold.
- If you'll be roasting mini pumpkins or rings of acorn squash with the intention of eating the skin, look for organic varieties or wash the squash well before cooking.
- For purées and soups, you can simplify the peeling process by first baking the squash in the oven until tender. The smooth varieties can be peeled; for ridged or nubbly types, simply scoop the flesh from the skin with a spoon.
- Butternut, buttercup, kabocha and acorn squash are great varieties to start out with if you're unfamiliar with squash.