It’s Fall & Squash Season Is Here
Not being a native of Arizona it is hard to think of fall when the temperatures are still over 85 degrees on most days… But here we are in the middle of the fall Squash season. Are you enjoying the beautiful Squashes, with their bright fall colors?
Reasons To Eat More Winter Squash
Winter Squashes are not only beautiful and taste delicious, but they are extremely good for you too…
- Winter Squash is a Great Source of Carotenoids, Vitamins, & Minerals
- Is Anti-inflammatory
- Supports Healthy Immune Function
- Supports Blood Sugar Regulation
- Cardiovascular Support
- May Help Prevent Cancer
Nutrients In Winter Squash
Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Thiamin, Pantothenic Acid, Folate,
Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, Copper, Phosphorous, Calcium, Iron, & Omega 3’s.
Carotenoids are phytochemicals that give plants their color, which include the beautiful fall colors we are seeing now in our trees and bushes. Carotenoids as a group are made up of over 600 natural pigments that are synthesized by plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria when exposed to sunlight. The Carotenoids in Winter Squash include; alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin.
“Scientists believe that among several functions, carotenoids behave like antioxidants, protecting the body from the harmful effects of oxygen that can contribute to degenerative disease.”
A Super Food
I am not sure I have gotten it across here, but Winter Squash is becoming at least in my mind a Super Food. It is especially high in carotenoids that function as antioxidants, it has many vitamins and minerals and even omega 3 fatty acids. Eating Winter Squash provides nutrients that help Regulate Blood Sugar, improve or prevent Macular Degeneration, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and even some Cancers.
Now, I wonder why it has taken me so long to learn this, have I been under a rock, ok don’t answer that… Personally, I am looking forward to eating more squash are you? If you have not decided to eat more Winter Squash please do not let my lack prevent you from finding out more about the value of eating Winter Squashes, I have included links to many of the reference I found below.
Kinds Of Winter Squash
There is quite a large selection of Winter Squash to choose from a few that I found are; Banana, Kabocha, Butternut, Carnival, Sweet Dumpling, Blue Hubbard, Delicata, Red Kuri, Buttercup, Acorn, and Spaghetti for a look at many of these you can go here.
Of these, I have only eaten a few of them, Butternut, Acorn & Spaghetti Squash. When I was younger some grocery stores carried cut pieces of a large squash I think it was Banana Squash, but I am not sure. When I was growing up the cut squash was the only squash we ate.
If I were asked I would have to say that Butternut is my favorite, then Spaghetti, I really like the fact that there is a vegetable that can be used in place of a spaghetti noodle. I would love to grow some of both, so far I have not figured it out or have not been trying hard enough. 🙂
Pumpkin is also a Winter Squash, do you eat Pumpkin? Today I started to wonder why we as a Nation do not eat more Pumpkin? I grew up eating Pumpkin pie, and Pumpkin seeds, but that was pretty much the extent of my Pumpkin diet. In some countries, pumpkin is eaten like we eat potatoes.
Are Jack-o-Lanterns Food?
Pumpkins that are grown for making Jack-o-Lanterns are not grown for taste or nutrition they are grown for size and shape. While it is commendable that some families take the extra step of turning their Halloween Pumpkins into food instead of just throwing it into a garbage bin, it may not be the best use for it….
The Big Pumpkins grown for Jack-o-Lanterns are not good to eat, and are usually tough and stringy. A smaller Pumpkin grown for food is sweet, delicious and not overly stringy.
When a pumpkin has been gutted, sculpted and a candle is lit inside the heat and exposure is a breeding ground for bacteria, it might be just as commendable to put an expired Jack-o-Lantern in a compost pile and let it go back to the ground, feeding plants that we can eat later.
Pumpkins Grown For Food
When I shop for a food Pumpkin I look for the smaller Sugar Pumpkins or ones that are called Pie Pumpkins I am sure there are more but that is all I can find right now.
Cooking Winter Squash
According to one source, the best way to cook Winter Squash is to steam it. It says steaming is quick it only takes 7 minutes, and steaming preserves the most nutrients. I like to bake my Winter Squash but have decide to try steaming it next time.
Long Storage Capacity
Winter Squash is supposed to have a long storage capacity because their hard outer shell makes it hard to penetrate or dry out. Some Winter Squashes are even supposed last up to 6 months, but I could not find any more information about how to keep it, I am going to store my hard shell Winter Squash in my kitchen out of the way until I need them, at room temperature.
\\Winter Squash Recipes//
Some Winter Squash recipes for you to try…
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
How To Make The Best Homemade Pumpkin Soup
Simple Pumpkin Soup
Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
Paleo Butternut Lemongrass Soup
Paleo Spaghetti Squash Bolognese
Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin
Fabulous Fall Food: Spaghetti Squash
Roasted Maple Walnut Carnival Squash
Stuffed Acorn Squash
How To Roast Pumpkin & Squash Seeds
How To Roast Pumpkin & Squash Seeds
Let Me Know What You Think
It’s Squash Season and I would like to know how you eat more squash. Please leave me a comment below…
Health Benefits of Squash
The Multiple Benefits of Carotenoids
The Role of Carotenoids in Human Health
Foods Hign In Beta-Carotene
Butternut Squash Nutrition Facts
What Are the Health Benefits of Carotenoids?