Make Way for the Squash

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September 25, 2019

It’s time for squash to take the stage as we shift into another season. I look forward to this time of year as many others do. Last year as I drove across the country from Ohio to Washington, I had a few pumpkins I had grown myself in tow. I couldn’t wait to get them back to Seattle so I could turn them into something delicious. It would be my first time making a recipe using pumpkin that didn’t come out of a can. The flavor was incomparable and the process requirements were minimal. 

The pumpkin has long been a symbol of autumn, gaining more popularity with each passing year. Nowadays you can find just about anything pumpkin-flavored and don’t forget the classic jack-o’-lantern! Not only do pumpkins represent a season, they provide a good amount of nutrients. Beta-carotene, vitamin A and C, and potassium can be found in cooked winter squashes. Winter squash has a high carbohydrate content, but a low glycemic index making it a filling option for most to regularly incorporate into meals.

Preparation-

Pumpkin can be baked in halves or wedges, unpeeled, with seeds and pulp removed. Lay the pieces flesh side down in a pan with a little water at 350℉/180℃ for 60-90 minutes. Steam chunks for 15-20 minutes or boil for 8-12. 

There are other common varieties of squash that come to mind when the weather starts to cool. Delicata squash is a low maintenance option that can be cooked in a multitude of ways, requiring no peeling and providing a slightly sweeter flesh than other varieties. Butternut squash requires a little more muscle due to density, but it also provides a tasty flesh worth the trouble. 

Here’s a favorite recipe where I use butternut squash-

Vegetarian Chili

2lbs / 1 kg any combination of dried beans such as pink, pinto, navy, kidney, soy, black, or chickpea

Rinse and soak in water overnight. Drain water. Cook in fresh water until soft, 45-60 minutes or longer depending on the beans used.

1 cup/250 ml red sweet pepper (chopped)

1 cup/250 ml green pepper (chopped)

1 onion (chopped)

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

In a large soup pot, saute in 1 tablespoon oil.

8 cups/2 L tomatoes (chopped)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon honey, molasses, or sugar

Add and heat to boiling. 

1 butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and chopped into ½ inch/ 1 cm cubes)

1 chipotle pepper or jalapeno pepper (minced, seeds removed)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Along with beans add to pot. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Recipe from “Simply in Season” Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert

NutritionBallard Health Club