Thursday, October 11, 2012

Don't get Squashed! On second thought, DO!

What is squash?

Well for starters, there are many kinds of squash, so knowing what it actually is might be helpful. Squash is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. This includes all squash varieties, summer and winter.  Summer squash tends to have higher water content, but if cooked properly, it can be just as high in nutrients as winter squash. Basically, squash is a gourd vegetable, is highly nutritious, and is often used in some parts of the world for the beautiful flowers it produces.  Different squash types are also used for decorations during Autumn holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. You see, pumpkin is a squash. What would Halloween be without pumpkins? So I guess the answer is; squash is a food, a flower, a decoration, and an incredibly powerful ally for your health.

Types of squash:

Squash recipes
Squash comes in different shapes and sizes!
There are many varieties of squash. Probably one of the most popular in this country is butternut squash. Acorn and spaghetti squash are also popular. Both are incredibly nutritious and taste great.

I used to live on the island of Trinidad. One thing I found interesting was how much they used pumpkin. We made squash soup, chopped pumpkin into chunks and steamed them, and made wraps,called “Roti”, that contained pumpkin along with meat and vegetables. Pumpkin is used there as regularly as we use potatoes in this country. And did you know that squash is actually more nutritious than potatoes? Let’s take a look at squash nutrition, and find out why.

Nutritional Benefits of Eating Squash:

One reason is the low calories in squash. A cup of winter squash contains about 76 calories! Considering how nutrient dense it is, that is a lot of bang for your buck.
  • Full of antioxidants and is a great anti-inflammatory. 
  • Ranks high in vitamins A and C. 
  • Excellent source of fiber, manganese, and Vitamin B-6. 
  • Good source of tryptophan, folate, potassium, vitamin K, copper, B-2, omega 3 fats, and magnesium. 
Those are just some of the great things squash has to offer. It's a nutritious and tasty food choice that adds variety to our diet. So feel free to add more squash to your diet.

How do I know which gourd is good?

Knowing how to pick a good gourd is an essential first step in enjoying it. 
  • Winter squash can decay. Look carefully for areas that are moldy or water-soaked.
  • Squash should be firm and heavy for its size. If it feels like it has soft rinds, the squash could be watery and lacking in flavor.
  • Rinds should be dull, not glossy.
  • Winter squash can be stored for up to 6 months in a dark, cool environment. 
Choosing organic squash is also advisable because squash is known to absorb toxins out of the soil. They are not highly sprayed with pesticides themselves, but they will pull toxins out of the ground if it has been previously treated with pesticides.

How to make a Yummy Squash dish!

cooking squash
Recipes with squash add
variety to your diet.
In case you are wondering how to incorporate more squash into your lifestyle, rest easy because there are many recipes for squash on the internet. Recipes with squash include baking, grilling, mashing, and, yes, you can even find a juice recipe, or two, for squash. Winter squash recipes also offer many squash soup recipes and squash casserole recipes.

One of the healthiest ways for cooking squash is to steam it, because for most varieties it only takes about 7 minutes. Remember, cooking for a shorter period of time, and heating at a lower temperature, means your food retains more of its nutrients

Be sure to wash your squash before you cook it. If you need to remove the skin, using a peeler does the trick. If I am low on energy and looking for something easy, I find baked squash is the way to go. One of my favorite recipes using either acorn, butternut, or spaghetti squash;

Gwen’s Baked Squash:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1 squash (washed, cut in half, seeds removed)
Place both halves cut side down on buttered pan.
Bake until soft to touch (cooking time depends on variety and size of squash)
Remove from oven and scoop out the meat into a bowl.
Add brown sugar or maple syrup to taste.
Mix thoroughly.
Add salt to taste and enjoy!

So, “Get Squashed” as often as possible!

Gwendolyn Adams
Contributing Writer

1 comment:

  1. I heard squash is good for guys who want to remove belly fat gained from christmas.