Squash, squash and more squash
Butternut. Acorn. Pumpkin. Spaghetti. Are you overwhelmed yet? Well, then you are not alone. Fall can be synonymous with apple picking, pumpkin spice lattes and lots and lots of squash. When fall arrives, there are some that are immediately excited to make all these variety of squashes but also those who are intimidated, unsure of their cooking abilities or just too busy to try to figure out how to cook them.
Once you can get past some of the road blocks, squash can be a great addition to your diet. The nutritional value varies very slightly but all are jam packed. Specifically, squash is an excellent source of immune supporting vitamin A and free-radical scavenging vitamin C. Squash is also an excellent source of heart-healthy folate, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins B6 and B2, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K. Squash is full of fiber which helps lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, keep your bowels happy and most importantly, keeps you full for a long time with low amount of calories. Simply put, they are a nutrition jackpot.
Preparing squash can sometimes be intimidating as you see these big gourds at the farmers market but don’t know what to do next. A good tip is to ask the farmer as they are usually very helpful and excited to share some helpful tips on how to cut and prepare it. The truth is that there isn’t really a wrong way to cook squash. They are great grilled, pureed, steamed, broiled, baked and mashed. Here is another tip that can help take away from of the fear of squash - it is up to you if you want to keep skin on or off. Some squashes may have a tougher skin like butter nut squash so you may want to take it off but even that is not a necessity. A simple roasting recipe: peel and cut squash into cubes of any size, brush or lightly drizzle olive oil (use less than you think you should), place on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and put into oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. As far as herbs or spices goes, its also up to you and can change up the dish completely. For a savory dish, try rosemary. For a sweet dish, try cinnamon and/or nutmeg.
To the moms out there, squash is a great food to try to introduce to your kids. As a young child without teeth, squash is obviously great for mashing/pureeing and I find that baking squash and cutting it like french fries does the trick to get my four year old to eat them. Squash can be presented in many different ways which is a plus to a mom trying to get their child to try something new.
So what do you say? Get out there and make yourself some delicata. Yup, that IS a squash. And its delicious! Check out the recipe on The Sprouted Kitchen blog that I made last week and loved: