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Monday, December 21, 2009

How We Learned To Love Squash


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Did You Know...
...there are 150 varieties of squash grown in the United States? Go ahead...name more than 4, I double dog dare you...


Photos courtesy fotosearch

I read an article titled "Squash It!" by Matthew G. Kadey, M.S., R.D and he talks about the benefits of squash and how to use them. I used to walk past that section of the grocery and not even dare to grab one of those eery, bumpy, weirdly shaped things like gourds or squash or pumpkin even. To say I was intimidated would be an understatement. It was just this last fall when our family instituted 'try a new fruit or vegetable each week' that made me say "Let's try one of these tonight." I went out of my cooking comfort zone and I'm really glad I did. Get a load of some of the benefits within this superfood...

* Contain high levels of potassium and iron.
* Lots of fiber.
* Vitamins A - retinol, (good for eyesight, growth, appetite and taste)* and C - ascorbic acid, (good for immune system, healing wounds, reducing cholesterol, cell lifespan, preventing scurvy, and is also a natural laxative)* are all over this thing! *netdoctor.co.uk

Ellie Krieger, R.D. from alot of things but namely from Food Network says to find the right one look for the heavy one with taut skin, matte finish, and no spots or cracks. Also, if you can press your fingernail into the rind easily, pass on it. It means they picked it before it was fully ripe. Store it in a cool, dry place and it should keep for several weeks.

My families favorite way to prepare butternut squash is taken from Everyday Food. I cut the top and the bottom off. Split it in half longways (what's that called? Vertical, right? I only remember that from the 90's Mountain Dew commercials. Get vertical with Dew. So much for all that schooling huh?) Scoop out the seeds BUT DON'T THROW THEM OUT! I'll tell you why in a second. Set them flesh side up on a roasting or baking pan. (If they keep rolling, cut a sliver from the skin underneath to make a flat spot) Fill the seedless hollows with 1tbsp butter and 2 tsp of some really good maple syrup -Grade B recommended. Sprinkle it with maybe some Kosher or regular salt and pepper. Roast @ 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour and feel free to baste them with the maple butter sporadically throughout. Cut it up, spoon any extra sauce over it from the pan. Serve it as a side and the skins are edible.

Photo courtesy fotosearch

What? The seeds? Right! About them. Squash seeds contain protein, zinc, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous (which aids in bone and teeth formation)
*Protein - hair, nails, skin
*Zinc - supports normal growth during pregnancy, helps sperm develop, is needed for ovulation and fertilization.
*Magnesium - improves cramps, energy production, aids electrical conduction of the heart.
*Iron - for blood health
All this in some little seeds. Truly amazing...

Let's Eat Em! Seed Prep:
Wash off the pulp slime, dry the seeds with a towel, toss with some olive oil, salt n pepper. Spread across some aluminum foil on a baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 15-20 min. until they start to brown. Don't let them burn though, you've got to watch them towards the end there.

How about everyone else? Is there a gourd that really gets your gourd going and your belly fed well? Let us know. Leave a comment.


My best,


Muzak! Nelly Furtado "Well Well". I try and always say what I mean, but sometimes I get tired...

16 comments:

CynthiaK said...

While I don't make it enough, we do love squash. Either baked butternut (with brown sugar and butter) or spaghetti squash on the side. That and squash soup is delish.

Had NO idea there were so many variations, though! SHeesh!

Sashindoubutsu said...

Oh... I don't even know the variety of the "ordinary" squash that we eat.

My mom introduced squash to us during our childhood days and I remember it being mashed with rice for the kiddies.^^

Healthy Shift Worker said...

Your post reminded me that I haven't had squash in ages!!

Merry Christmas Lynn!!

Arlice Nichole said...

I didn't know that squash came in so many varieties! I always roast pumpkin seeds in the fall, so I will surely try this with the seeds of squash. And now I'm hungry!

Debbie said...

I've eaten quite a few squash in my day but never the seeds! Unless you count pumpkins.

Kimberly said...

I do love squash, but I don't eat it enough.

Thanks for the post!

Lynn said...

@ CynthiaK - I'm going to have to try that brown sugar mixture. It sounds really good.

My best, Lynn

Kirsty said...

I love butternut squash! Thanks for the seed ideas though, I never considered eating those. I have a great butternut squash soup recipe here.
http://momedy.blogspot.com/2009/10/i-got-feelingthat-this-months-gonna-be.html

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

I adore squash!!! we had butternut squash soup this past weekend. yum!!!

Wifey said...

Love this. I've always wanted to try making the squash spaghetti. I'll have to try it ...

Winks & Smiles,
Wifey

Tesa@2Wired2Tired said...

Great post! I learned some things I didn't know and am excited because I do like squash. I just discovered Spaghetti Squash recently and Acorn Squash is always good too. Now that I know all the benefits, we are going to have to have it more often around here!

Bejai1962 said...

Thanksgiving, about 10 years ago, I bought a bunch of tiny squash. Each one looked different and I had no idea what to do with them. Most people would have used them to decorate the table for the holidays but since I was home alone it seemed like the perfect meal for one. I went on the internet to see how to prepare them and was surprised to see that they could be microwaved just like a potatoe. I enjoyed them all and loved the very different taste they each had. Now I feel comfortable buying any sqaush of any size and knowing it will be yummy. And...I find winter sqaushes have so much more taste than summer squash.
BTW Lynn thanks for the tips on using the seeds; that's a new one for me.

Earthly Reality said...

I got some squash over the weekend to make a juice that i saw in my detox book.

Everyday Mom Ideas said...

I love butter nut squash soup. So yummy. So yummy. My kids like it steamed and toped with a little butter.

JamericanSpice said...

I'm not used to squash, however we made a fabulous german dish with it a few months ago and I can't wait to do it again!

Bejai1962 said...

I just bought two Sweet Dumpling squash. I can't wait to dig into those boys! yumo!

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