Trending Now: Winter Squash

Sakata’s winter squash varieties are super performers that really deliver. Consumers who find them in local grocery stores and farmer’s markets can expect nothing less than high quality and superb taste and texture.

The unpalatable squash our great-grandparents ate just a few decades ago was far different from the squashes we enjoy today, which are highly nutritious super foods with superb texture and flavor. Best of all, modern-day winter squashes are much easier to prepare, versatile for cooking and a good fit for the health-conscious consumer.

Trending Now

“People are placing more importance on cooking with high-nutrition crops and super foods,” says Tracy Lee, Product Manager for Sakata’s Home Grown Division. “Squash fits in easily with the whole food and clean food movements. It is a great staple for gluten-free, low-carbohydrate and low-glycemic diets.”

Winter squash makes a great transitional food for healthy eating because it is colorful, filling and adds salt to a dish. While it has a rich flavor, it doesn’t overpower other foods. It can also substitute for meat. Spaghetti squash is an excellent pasta substitute for gluten-free dishes. While spaghetti squash is commonly associated with Italian dishes, Lee has noticed more recipes and restaurant dishes that use it for Asian cuisines like soup and noodle dishes.

Cooks are also broadening their horizons by using squash across all meals, including breakfast and desserts. As restaurants turn to local sources for their produce, more and more menu items are showing up with squash as one of the main ingredients. In fact, it is quickly becoming a staple for vegetarian and vegan meal options.

Ideal Picks for both the Grower and Consumer

“Today’s consumers are looking for convenience in food preparation. They are sometimes scared off by a huge squash that they have no idea how to use,” says Lee. “Luckily, grocery stores have gotten better at offering more packaging options that include pre-cut squash for quicker prep times. The Internet also has a host of great recipes, some of which are on Sakata’s Pinterest page.”

Whether for a single person or a family that numbers from two to ten, Sakata has a great line up of winter squash varieties that are the perfect fit for any meal.

Nutrition Doesn’t Get Better Than This

Squash is chock full of healthy goodness. Winter squash is a rich source of powerful antioxidants called carotenoids. Add to that, anti-inflammatory nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and beta-carotene that strengthen the immune system. In addition to anti-inflammatory nutrients, don’t forget anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic and insulin-regulating properties as well.

And squash has all the right stuff — Vitamin C, dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, manganese, copper, potassium, Vitamin B2, Vitamin K, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and niacin — for better health. Ninety percent of the total calories in squash come from good carbohydrates that boost health and provide lots of fiber.

Because of its nutritional value, squash has great potential in the areas of cancer prevention and treatment, deterrence of cardiovascular disease, blood sugar regulation and prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

Did You Know?

  • One cup of squash contains 36 calories, 7 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 6 grams fiber and less than 1 gram of fat.
  • Growers planted 45,000 acres of squash and harvested 43,600 acres in 2012.
  • Seeds from winter squash make great snacks, and squash blossoms are edible too.
  • The word squash comes from a Native American word, askutasquash, meaning “eaten raw or cooked.”

Butternut Varieties

Atlas offers larger portion sizes for enthusiastic cooks or large families. It has a small bulb-end for quick cutting into uniform pieces.

Polaris is a medium-sized, traditional-shaped squash with a smooth tan exterior and a bright orange interior.

Quantum, Sakata’s smallest butternut variety, is great for smaller portion sizes. A thick neck and small bulb end present a uniform size for easy handling and cutting. Quantum has a small seed cavity for maximum edible fruit.


Spaghetti Squash Varieties

Vegetable Spaghetti is a well-known, open-pollinated variety that is medium-sized. Even though it is a market standard, updated genetics help make it a high-quality product.

Primavera is a market standout with its bright yellow color both inside and out. It is similar in size to OP but does not get quite as long. Primavera has great color and texture that holds up well when cooked.

Tivoli is an oval-shaped squash, six to nine inches in length, with creamy flesh and a light tan color. It is a medium-sized squash.