Family Fun in the Fall

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Article written by Amy Peterson, MS, RD (, Extension Educator in Polk County.

Fall is a fun time for families - picking apples, selecting pumpkins, and celebrating the garden harvest is a great way to get your child involved in the kitchen and cooking with you. Use these colorful days of autumn to focus on the harvest and enjoy the sweet and spicy aromas of fall that can fill your kitchen on a cool November day!

Squash that is harvested in the fall is known as winter squash. Winter squash tends to include darker varieties such as pumpkin, spaghetti squash, acorn squash and butternut squash. Qualities to look for when choosing a winter squash:

  • Select a squash that has a deep color and is heavy for its size.
  • Skin that is easily nicked or scraped with a fingernail means that the squash did not reach maturity
  • Stem should be firm, rounded, and dry.

Winter squash has a long shelf life and if kept in a cool, dry place between 55 and 60°F, will store for up to 3 months. Cooked, pureed squash can be frozen and used later for soups, sauces, or stews.

Apple Filled Squash

  • 1 acorn squash (about 1 pound)Apple Filled Squash
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored & chopped
  • 2 teaspoons melted butter or margarine
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash ground cloves
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Coat a 1-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Halve squash and remove seeds. Place halves, skin side up, in dish and cover; bake 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine apple, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  2. Turn cut sides of acorn squash up; top with apple mixture. Cover and bake 30 minutes longer or until apples are tender. Makes 4 servings. Each serving contains: 88 calories, 3 g fat, 17 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 24 mg sodium. Recipe adapted from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.