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‘Tis the Season for Winter Squash

 

 

As we are going into a different season, it is time to find other fresh, healthy food items available this fall. One of my favorite “fall” season foods is winter squash, especially when they are on sale in grocery stores.  There are many different types of squash, including butternut, acorn, and spaghetti. Let's review the cooking methods, preparation, and nutritional benefits of winter squash.

 

Nutrition Benefits

 

The bright orange color found inside a butternut squash is the colored pigment called carotene.  Carotene is high in Vitamin A, which promotes vision benefits and immune system.  One cup of butternut squash provides almost 300% of your daily value of Vitamin A.  Other benefits of acorn and spaghetti squash include high amounts of potassium.  Potassium is needed for your muscle and cardiac function.

 

Cooking Preparation and Methods

 

Preparing winter squash can be challenging and intimidating if you are watching videos about how to prepare it.  With their hard skin, it is hard to peel and/or cut winter squash.  A quick tip to make this a simpler process is to cut slits in the direction where you want to cut the squash and warm it up in the microwave, instant pot, slow cooker, or oven to soften.  Here is an article of how to use an instant pot for spaghetti squash.  For peeling, place the squash on a cutting board and peel in a downward motion.

 

There are many ways to cook winter squash, including roasting and pureeing.  Roasting winter squash and other vegetables give the crunch and sweetness factor while in the oven for 25-40 minutes.  While roasting winter squash, you can use whatever spices you want.  Pureeing squash is a great way to make soups for brisk, cold night.  You can puree winter squash using a food processor and blender after cooking until softened.

 

Need recipe ideas?  Here are some of my favorites.

  • You can find a recipe for roasted winter squash here

  • Here is a recipe for butternut squash soup, my favorite kind of soup. 

  • Here is a recipe using spaghetti squash.

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