Confession: I totally missed the memo on planting winter squash. I was so focused on summer squash, that I wasn’t even thinking about growing my own fall decorations and more importantly, delicious fall and winter food.
So here we are, in the midst of fall and all of its glory. With Halloween right around the corner, pumpkins line patio steps and apartment balconies, and grocery bins are bursting with squash and pumpkins. And I suddenly realize that I want winter squash, of every kind, to line my steps, to spice up my fall decor, and of course, to eat!
Note to self: Plant winter squash and pumpkins (and gourds) next year (you should too). They are easy to grow and inexpensive (but do require some space).
What to plant:
- Winter squash: acorn, delicata, butternut, and hubbard
- Pumpkins: for carving and sugar pumpkins for eating
- Gourds: if you have space
When to plant: Direct seed in mid May. Winter squash need more time to mature than summer squash. You can also direct seed to grow your own transplants.
Reality check: We are well past May, so the opportunity to grow winter squash has passed, but it is added to the list for next year. The good news! Winter squash and pumpkins are readily available at the Farmer’s Market, Pumpkin Patches, and the grocery store.
NOW, getting to the actual motivation for this post – I encourage you to decorate for fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving with winter squash and sugar pumpkins. They are beautiful, provide bold color, and the best part, when you are done using them as your autumn flair, you can eat them! So your decorations don’t go to waste.
I have compiled a list of my favorite recipes that use an array of winter squash varieties and pumpkins. Check these out for some inspiration.
Recipes for winter squash and pumpkins:
Winter Squash Pancakes with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter from Smitten Kitchen
Squash: you can use any variety
Are you kidding me? Pancakes for dinner?! Really they are for any time of day. Yummy!
Smitten Kitchen is an all time favorite of mine, check out her fabulous cookbook: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook.
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash + Apple Soup from The Natural Nurturer
Slow cooker? Say no more! Any recipe using my crockpot is worth trying – nothing better than the smell of dinner when you walk in the door after a long day! Not to mention healthy and delicious.
I have been following The Natural Nurturer for her easy, wholesome recipes that are intentionally crafted to be healthy, delicious, and family friendly. Check her out!
Chicken Sausage + Kale Stuffed Squash from Simply Real Health
Not only is this recipe sweet and savory, but it is easy and healthy. Plus, 100% seasonal! I am still growing carrots and kale, and just finished harvesting my zucchini. You can find all of these ingredients at your local Farmer’s Market right now.
Sarah from Simply Real Health is the Queen of healthy, wholesome, tasty recipes that are designed for the seasons, so you can truly eat real food farm to table. Check out her cookbook: The Simply Real Health Cookbook: Easy Real Food Recipes For a Healthy Life, Made Simple.
Roast Pumpkin with Honey and Feta from Not Quite Nigella
Squash: any variety
I love this recipe – so simple and flavorful and you can apply it to any variety of squash or pumpkin.
Warm Winter Kale and Delicata Squash Salad with Maple Vinaigrette from Do You Even Paleo?
Everyone needs a “go to” warm, delicious fall and winter inspired salad. Plus, if you still have kale in the garden, you can use that too!
Classic Baked Acorn Squash from Simple Recipes
So simple and easy and NEVER disappoints. Pairs perfectly with just about anything. Plus, it is even a good leftover! Full of nutrients, regardless of the yummy brown sugar and butter.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Six Ways from Wholefully
Whatever you do, don’t forget to roast your pumpkin seeds. I personally prefer the basic olive oil + salt. But may have to give one of these six other options a try this year!
What are your favorite recipes using winter squash and/or pumpkins? Please share!
And come May 2017, don’t forget to plant your winter squash!