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Sweet Potatoes continued...

Shopping Tips: Choose sweet potatoes with taut, papery skins and tapered ends. The intensity of the orange color varies in different cultivars of sweet potato—darker colors are higher in beneficial carotenoids.

Storage Tips: Sweet potatoes should never be refrigerated. Store them in a cool, dark place with good air circulation, to discourage softening, sprouting and spoiling. If potatoes begin to sprout during storage but are still firm, remove the sprouts and any eyes that are beginning to sprout before eating. Properly stored, sweet potatoes will keep 10 to 12 weeks.

Winter Squash

Squash is great for hearty meals to get us through winter’s chill. Varieties like acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash boast unique flavors that work well in recipes from soups and hearty sides to filling main dishes and sweet seasonal desserts.

What You Get: Winter squash is high in fiber, an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and also provides vitamin B6, folate, vitamin K and potassium.

Shopping Tips: Choose very hard squash: press firmly all over to make sure the rind isn’t soft (a sign of immaturity or improper storage.)

During harvest season, look for vivid colors—the skin color should not look washed out. Later in the year, after the squash has been stored, the skin color may fade as the flesh becomes sweeter.

Regardless of the season, the skin should not look shiny--a sign that it’s either underripe or that it’s waxed, possibly masking bad quality.

Choose squash with a remnant of the dried-out stem still attached. A missing stem can be a sign of mold and bacteria growth inside.

Storage Tips: Store in a cool spot with good air circulation (not the refrigerator, but a cool pantry or cellar) for up to a month.

If you buy precubed squash at your market, make sure the pieces are dry, firm and vivid in color. Avoid those that look wet or desiccated with sunken striations in the flesh.

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