Spaghetti squash is part of the winter squash family, also known as “keeper” squash because these hearty vegetables will last for several months in cool storage. Spaghetti squash, like its winter squash cousins, is relatively easy to grow and its hard rind keeps moisture out.
Want to learn more how to put spaghetti squash in your garden and on your table this year? Read on for some great tips and information on delicious and low carb spaghetti squash.
Growing Spaghetti Squash
Like other squash, growing spaghetti squash in your garden is a no brainer. Just make sure you’ve got adequate space for the squash to grow and keep the area clear so that vines can grow and well drained. The Gardeners Network recommends that any kind of squash needs to be grown in full sun.
When To Pull Spaghetti Squash Off the Vine
Summer and winter squash is fairly easy to grow and harvest. Of course, growing it takes patience. You need to make sure that the squash has grown to the desired size. With spaghetti squash, you need additional time to let the squash grow to full size. The Gardeners Network reports that winter squash grows 70 to 110 days to maturity, longer if needed. Wait until the attached vine turns brown. Spaghetti squash should be a nice yellow hue by this time. Then, cut the squash loose from the vine, allowing the squash to rest outside for several days until vegetable “cures” and the rind hardens. Once this is done, your spaghetti squash is ready to eat.
Buying Spaghetti Squash From Your Grocery Store
Don’t have room to grow spaghetti squash in your garden? Be adventurous. Buy one from your local supermarket or grocery store. Of course, you need to select the right one. Look for squash that with a hard skin and one that has no soft spots or cuts in the rind. Make sure you buy one that is a healthy size and shape, keeping in mind that a 4 lb. spaghetti squash will yield about five cups.
Preparing Spaghetti Squash for Dinner
Kids and adults alike will delight in having spaghetti squash for dinner. Why? Because it looks just like spaghetti noodles contained in rind. Its mild flavor makes it super versatile as a side dish at dinner.
There are several ways to cook spaghetti squash:
1. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Cooking for 30-45 minutes face-down in a small amount of water on top of the stove or on a cookie sheet in the oven.
2. For super hard squash, pierce the skin in several places (with an ice pick if necessary) and bake whole at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, turning once.
Once cooked, let spaghetti squash cool for 10 to 20 minutes so it will be easier to handle. Cut it in half (if needed) and remove the seeds. Using a fork, scrape out the “meat” which are actually long, pasta-like strands. Strain, as needed.
Spaghetti squash can be served plain, with butter, or with butter and parmesan cheese on top. Other ideas? I like to serve spaghetti squash with marinara sauce on the side. Or, you can toss spaghetti squash with leftover ham and a basic cheese sauce (a pad of butter, flour, milk and your favorite cheese.) Bake for thirty minutes and it’s ready for dinner.
Some people like to gently toss their spaghetti squash with about half a cup of orange juice. Top with fresh, chopped parsley and a dash of salt and pepper for a delicious side dish. Leftover spaghetti squash can also be eaten cold the next day or reheated in the microwave – just like “real” pasta!
Storing Spaghetti Squash
We usually cook spaghetti squash as soon as we buy it because it’s simply too big to keep around for very long in our house. But, in actuality, spaghetti squash, like other winter squash, can be stored at room temperature for up to a month, making this winter squash a real value for today’s families.
Spaghetti Squash: A Low Carb Wonder
Dieters take note: A four-ounce serving of spaghetti squash has only 37 calories. The same amount of “real” pasta has 167 calories. Spaghetti squash served with tomato or marinara sauce on the side has about 240 calories, perfect for anyone trying to keep their carbs in check.
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