Winter Squash: A Budget Friendly Delight


There is hardly a food which can compare to winter squash!  Where else can you pack loads of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants in it own serving dish for just a couple of bucks?   It’s a low maintenance vegetable which a lot of the time takes a bad rap.   But you have to admit, it is so nice to be able to just shelf your squash for a few weeks with out it going bad.

In fact, did you know that winter squash peaks in taste and sugars around 3-6 months AFTER harvest???  So, don’t feel bad about shelving it for a long time.  It just keeps getting better!

Which is music to the ears of any frugal shopper.  An item which can be stocked up on which the prices are rock bottom and it only gets better sitting on the shelf?   Oh, pinch me…I’m dreaming!

Now, we grew about 3500 lbs of winter squash this year.  It was quite the prolific year for squash!  Last week, after about 4 straight nights of squash for dinner, our middle son said, “Umm, so what’s up with the squash every night?!”   I responded, “Well, it’s squash season and we eat what’s in season.”  And with much despair, he mumbles quietly under his breath, “I don’t like squash season.”

Winter Squash

The last of our winter squash was delivered to the Orange Street Food Farm.

Fortunately for Logan, squash season comes but once a year but unfortunately for him, squash lasts all winter!  I took his confession as a challenge to find ways to fix squash which may appeal to him.  We usually just eat it cooked with butter and either brown sugar or salt and pepper.   Honestly, for me that’s all squash needs.

My first “Logan-friendly” attempt failed in his eyes but was a winning dish for the rest of the family.  After cooking the squash in the oven until fork tender, I scooped out the meat and blended it with butter, taco seasoning mix, a little Tabasco and cheese.  Then I topped it with cheese and popped it back into the oven to broil the cheese layer.  It was a fun experiment but it still didn’t get a thumbs up!

Now, I’m going to let you in a little secret…promise you won’t tell Logan. I slipped a bunch of squash into their breakfast smoothies.  What a splendid and frugal idea.  I just increased the nutritional content in a one-two punch!  Mixed with strawberries, bananas, honey and greek yogurt Logan never knew what hit him.  In fact, he even asked for seconds. This will be my stealthy way of sneaking squash into his diet until he learns to like it.

Now, last Tuesday night I wanted to try another variation of winter squash….SOUP.  Soup is a frugal cook’s best friend.  It is low cost, uses inexpensive items and usually is eaten by everyone!   Plus, soup is easy to make and has easy clean up.  So, it’s always a win-win when you go with soup.

Squash Soup

Winter Squash Soup served with a dollop of sour cream and minced jalapeno pepper.

After making it, I let it set for a couple of hours allowing the flavors to meld and improve.  Finally, the moment arrived to see how I did in Logan’s eyes.  At first sight, he said, “No, thank you.”  But then I raved about it and he watched me down my bowl which had a dollop of sour cream and a smattering of minced jalapeno peppers.    He slowly moved over and dipped his spoon into the pot…the soup entered his mouth and soon I saw his shoulders shrug and he slowly said, “Hmm, this isn’t bad.”  Score one for mom.  Finally a squash victory!

You can bet we’ll be eating lots of squash soup in the months to come.  But I’m delighted because the soup is a perfect winter meal…easy, nutritious, satisfying and so frugal!

I’m sharing my Squash Soup recipe with you this week in hopes that maybe YOU can convert a squash-hater to a squash-lover….or even just a squash-liker!  This recipe is versatile and you can use any winter squash you have available.  I used a sweet meat which has a deep orangey meat and is moist and sweet.  An acorn or buttercup would be perfectly suitable too!  (Also, I doubled this recipe and it worked out perfectly.)

1 ½ lbs Winter Squash, cooked

2 cups chicken broth (recipe for homemade broth)

¼ tsp ground ginger or 1 tsp of fresh, minced ginger

1/8 salt

¼ pepper

Dash ground cinnamon

4-5 dashes of Tabasco (optional)

1 cup half-and-half or whole milk

¼ cup of sour cream (or greek yogurt)

Fresh, minced jalapeno pepper


A Harvest of Squash from the Turner Family Farm.

Pierce squash skin all over.  Place on baking sheet and bake in 400 degree oven  until squash can be pierced easily throughout.  (for a medium sized acorn squash it would be approximately 30-40 minutes).  Remove from oven and let cool.  Cut in half and begin scooping out meat .  Place in a food processor and process until smooth.

Stir pureed squash into chicken stock in a large saucepan; stir in ginger, salt, pepper, Tabasco and cinnamon.  Bring mixture to boiling.  Reduce heat and stir in half-and-half.  Heat through.  If desired, garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and fresh jalapeno.  Makes 4 servings.

It is squash season!  Prices are super low right now and there is LOTS of variety!  We sell most of our squash to Orange Street Food Farm but there are a few other stores in town who sell local or regional squash too.

The key to squash?  Stock up!  Buy it super cheap right now and line your shelves with it.  It will just keep getting better as the winter wears on!

The other key?  Finding recipes or uses, like my soup or smoothie, which redefine and update the status of squash.  It doesn’t have to be a smooshy, glob of orange on your plate anymore.   Get creative and you’ll suddenly see that it is family and frugal friendly!


 Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, sticking to a budget, and living sustainably in her blog archive.


Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.

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