Smart Choices - Fact Sheet - Winter Squash & Pumpkin

Heli J. Roy  |  3/18/2005 10:35:17 PM

For a real treat, include colorful winter squash and pumpkin in your family's meals. October through December is the peak season for these vegetables.


Squash and pumpkin are excellent sources of vitamin A. Actually they contain beta carotene which our bodies convert to vitamin A.

Research tells us that beta carotene may help to protect us against certain types of cancer. Squash and pumpkin are good sources of fiber as well as other nutrients. One-half cup serving of winter squash has 40 calories. A half-cup serving of pumpkin has 25 calories.


  • Be sure the rind is hard; this indicates ripeness.
  • Avoid any that show signs of bruising or other injury.
  • Squash should be heavy for its size.
  • One pound of squash will usually give one cup of cooked squash.


Fall and winter squash, if it is perfectly sound and dry, may be stored in a cool (50-60 degrees F), dry, dark place for several months. Be sure the storage area is well ventilated and squash is arranged so air can circulate around the vegetables. For storage up to several months, be sure squash is full mature (hard shell) with the stem attached. Do not refrigerate. Cut pieces, however, should be covered and kept in the refrigerator until time to cook.

Cooking Tips:

Squash and pumpkin keep their bright color and good flavor whether boiled, steamed, broiled or baked. The nutty flavor combines well with ham, chicken, turkey, sugar, spice, honey and syrups.


  • 2 pounds hard shell squash 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tart apples 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons brown sugar 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Peel and thinly slice squash. Peel and slice apples. In a baking dish with a cover, arrange alternate layers of sliced squash and apples. Top each layer with sugar, salt and margarine. (Ingredients may be placed in cavity of squash cut in half, if preferred.) Cover the top with bread crumbs and bake at 375 degrees F about 50-60 minutes or until vegetable is tender. Serves 4

Variation: Two cups canned sliced pineapple or orange sections may be substituted for apples.

Each serving has 286 calories, 4 g protein, 64 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.3 g dietary fiber, 151 RE Vitamin A, and 318 mg sodium.


  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1 cup cooked or canned, mashed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup molasses 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 egg 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine sugar, margarine and molasses. Beat well. Add egg and pumpkin, beating until smooth. Stir together remaining ingredients. Add to pumpkin mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Fill lightly greased muffin pans half full. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Makes about 18 muffins.

Each muffin has 139 calories, 2 g protein, 21 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 12 mg cholesterol, 82 RE Vitamin A, and 179 mg sodium.

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