Trader Joe's Winter Squash Is One Of The Best Holiday Cooking Bargains

A color gradient of  whole squashes
A color gradient of whole squashes - Studiobarcelona/Getty Images

With the passing of daylight savings and the approaching holiday season, the last bouts of summer produce have left the grocery shelves and made way for the hearty fruits and veggies of late fall and winter. Among the seasonal produce available in the colder months are apples, carrots, beets, and winter squash. Winter squash refers to various types of squash that can be picked and stored during the fall and winter. These squash varieties typically feature a hard outer rind that protects the tender flesh within and can preserve the tasty fruit for a long time after being harvested.

But, because winter squash tend to be larger and heavier compared to other produce, they can quickly become expensive at the grocery store if they are priced per pound. For a good bargain on winter squash, try looking at Trader Joe's, as this grocery store chain offers a selection of winter squash priced per unit instead of per pound. This means you can score larger pieces of squash for a fair, even price.

Cost can vary depending on the Trader Joe's location but observed 2023 prices for different winter squash have included $0.99 for delicata squash, $1.99 for acorn squash, and $1.95 for butternut squash. Considering that other stores, like Walmart, offer butternut squash at $0.98 per pound, you have the opportunity to get the best bang for your buck at Trader Joe's. This is a great deal if you need to feed a larger group of people -- or are just an avid squash lover.

Read more: 13 Simple Tricks To Pick The Best Fresh Fruit Every Time

How To Select The Best Winter Squash

Hand slicing orange squash
Hand slicing orange squash - Erhan Inga/Shutterstock

It can be intimidating trying to select a good winter squash because the outer layer hides the edible interior of the vegetable. But, with a few mindful tips, you can be a squash-selecting expert in no time. If the squash you're viewing still has a stem, examine it and ensure that the stem is still firm, dry to the touch, and doesn't show any sign of damage or decay.

Then, carefully examine the outer rind of the squash and make sure that there is no sign of bruising, injury, or mold growth on the skin. Your squash should be firm all around with no soft spots and should feel heavy in your hands. The appearance of the skin should look matte. If the squash is shiny, it may have been picked too early and won't have as good of a flavor. Winter squash can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. You can roast them, sauté them, blend them into soups or sauces, or even use them to stuff pasta.

In fact, one of the biggest mistakes people make when cooking winter squash is not experimenting with all of its uses. You can take your winter squash in a savory direction by making a roasted butternut squash soup, or go for something sweeter with a winter squash-based pie. However you choose to cook winter squash this season, be sure to load up on good squash deals early as the tasty fruits can keep for up to two months. Take advantage of good prices now while the produce is still abundant.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.