There is no doubting that winter squash is one of Michigan’s favorite fall produce vegetables, and if thought through properly, you can enjoy it for many months after harvest. Squashes, such as acorn; butternut; spaghetti; buttercup; hubbard; dumpling; pie pumpkins; and even regular, large pumpkins, are generally harvested at the very end of summer or early fall. They are then cured to further harden the skin and stored in a cool, dry place. This process will generally keep squash from spoiling for up to two months after initial harvest.
Now, if you would like to enjoy Michigan winter squashes for longer than two months, I advise you to stock up and freeze as much as possible no later than the middle of November. Typically, all Michigan squash is sold through by this time, although this may vary by a week or two either way, depending on each season’s crop. If freezing squash is something you plan on doing, I would suggest cutting or chunking it into cubes, whichever variety you desire.
Picking out Winter Squash
Selecting the perfect squash, unlike other fruits and vegetables, is not all that difficult. The common denominator with all winter squashes is firmness. Be sure that all surface areas are solid and firm. Otherwise, you might end up with mealy or very stringy squash that will not be what you want.
Another advantage of Michigan-grown winter squash is the price. If you have the room to stock up, the price will not be lower the rest of the year than it is October through November.
We have many recipes on our website to help you enjoy winter squashes the Nino’s way. Take a look at our “Squash Guide” for some of our favorites.