Winter Squash

Winter Squash are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with melons and cucumbers. They come in many shapes and sizes, and all have hard protective skins that enable them to be stored for up to six months.

Modern day squash has developed from a wild squash growing in Mexico and Guatemala. It has long been a staple part of the diet of the people of central America, and of the native north American Indian.  The original squashes were grown for their seed, the flesh being bitter. Modern varieties have been selected for their sweet flesh.

Squash is high in Vitamin A – particularly good for those with weak lungs or lung disease, including smokers. It is also a good source of Vit C, B1, B6, ands B3. It also contains potassium, manganese, folate, and omega 3 fatty acids. So nutritious as well as delicious!

Squash basics

Choose squash that are firm, heavy for size and without signs of decay. They will keep well – up to six months for some varieties - in a dry, cool, dark place – around 10 to 12 degrees. Once cut, place in a plastic bag or cling wrap, and store in the ‘fridge, where they will keep for a few days. Freeze in pieces cut to the size you want for your individual recipe.

Wash the squash, cut in half, remove seeds and fibrous material in the cavity. Use peeled or unpeeled.

OR – pierce the squash near the stem to allow the steam out, and  bake in a medium oven for about 45 mins. Then it is easy to cut – either a little hole in the top to scoop out the seeds and flesh, or into slices.

  • Steam squash – either after cut into pieces, peeled or unpeeled, or cut in half, seeds scooped out, and placed face down.
  • Puree the squash and top with cinnamon and maple syrup!
  • Steam squash and dress with olive oil, tamari, ginger and pumpkin seeds.
  • Add cubes of any squash to soup recipes.
  • Add cubes of cooked squash to a stir fry. Roast wedges with other veg.
  • Perfect weaning food for babies! Simply puree cooked squash and add other pureed veg – carrots, parsnips, or add milk, soy milk.

Squash and Pumpkin Recipes

Spicy Golden Squash soup

  • 1 medium butternut squash.       
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tspn turmeric
  • 1 tbspn chopped fresh ginger       
  • 1 tspn curry powder
  • 1 pint stock
  • Small can coconut milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh coriander to garnish.

Sautee the onions and garlic, add the spices and cook for a few minutes. Add the squash (peeled and chopped into cubes). Add stock, cook till tender – about 10 minutes. Blend with coconut, adding more stock to thin if necessary. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve garnished with fresh chopped coriander.

Quantities are not important – and any variety of squash will work just as well.  Note: For making soup Helen always prefers to bake the squash whole first (simply pierce the skin in one or two places before baking) and then scrape the flesh out and puree into soup - saves time by not having to peel the squash - especially if they are an awkward shape to peel.  

Roast Squash with Garlic

 A really quick and simple delicious way to eat squash.  Simply cube or cut into slices, add oil and either chopped or crushed garlic - be generous with the garlic.  Roast until tender (slightly less time than parsnips if doing with a tradtional roast).  There is no need to peel the squash - peel can be eaten, or simply left to one side after if you'd rather not eat it.

Squash Cake

Well, you’ve all heard of carrot cake….

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup apple juice – or any juice.
  • handful chopped nuts   
  • 3 cups pureed cooked squash
  • a third of a cup brown sugar
  • spices – 1 teaspoon each coriander, cinnamon and ginger.
  • Pinch of sea salt.

Pre heat oven to medium (180). Mix dry ingredients. Then add the remaining ingredients and beat well by hand. Pour into an oiled cake tin.

Bake for one hour.

Cool on rack. Serve warm or cold. Delicious!

For best nutrition, use wholemeal flour, or mix wholemeal and rice flour. Try maple syrup instead of sugar.

This is a heavy, slightly chewy cake, like a malt loaf texture.


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