By Valerie Lull
When I was a child I did not like squash of any kind except the pumpkin pies mother would make in the fall. Now that I’m an adult I am revisiting the world of squash and finding it can be tasty as well as a powerhouse of nutrition. I am also finding that there are myriad ways of fixing it with butter, herbs and spices that make a tasty dish for any meal.
My favorite squash is Acorn Squash. This is how I like to fix it. Cut the squash in half or in quarters depending on how big the squash is, scoop out the seeds and put a dollup of butter and a teaspoon of maple syrup in each piece. Put the pieces on a cookie tray and bake them for about 40 minutes. Let it cool a minute or two when it comes out of the oven and serve and enjoy. Hubbard squashes are big, but they are also cut in pieces and baked. My friend had a squash so big she had to cut it with an axe to get it open!
Another tasty winter squash is butternut squash. I found a way to make it delicious. You dice the squash into 1 inch squares. Put it in a skillet with 2-3 Tablespoons of butter and a diced onion. You let the mixture cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the squash is cooked. Add chopped pecans, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Another variation of this recipe is to just use salt and pepper and skip the parsley and pecans.
Do you enjoy pumpkin seeds for a snack? You can also use seeds from winter squash to make a healthy snack. Clean the seeds from the pulp and put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Roast at approximately 165 degrees in the oven for 15 or 20 minutes.
Winter squash is packed full of nutrients. It has lots of carotenoids like lutein, zeaxantahin, and beta-cryptoxanthin. It contains healthy fats like linoleic acid and oleic acid. Squash has vitamins A, C, B6, B2, pantothenic acid, folate and vitamin K. Minerals include manganese, copper potassium, and magnesium. Squash has plenty of fiber which aids digestion.
There are at least 15 varietiesi of winter squash so you should be able to find one you like. Liven it up with some herbs and spices and you have a dish fit for any table. Bon Apetite!