Happy Fall, everyone! Over the past few weeks, have you noticed that the produce section of the grocery store has exploded with new seasonal favorites? The bins, once filled with peaches and nectarines, are now heaping with different apple varieties and pears. And among the veggies – spaghetti, butternut and acorn squash! Just thinking about warm spiced fruit and savory seasoned squash calls for a big "YUM"!
While many people may be comfortable baking an apple pie or preparing spiced pears, the task of cooking winter squash might seem a bit more challenging. If preparing a two-pound funny-shaped gourd isn’t one of your specialties, I hope you’ll consider giving it a shot! If cutting through the tough outer rind scares you, you can microwave the squash a little first to make it easier to work with. Just remember to poke a few holes with a fork first to allow steam to release while cooking.
Winter squash can be prepared in a variety of ways:
Winter squash varieties can be cooked up into warm tasty dishes that beat the chill in the air. They will also fill you up quite well. Winter squash is a great source of complex carbs and fiber. This means you will digest it more slowly and stay full longer, even though it is fairly low in calories (on average, 1 cup = 80 calories). Another star quality of these versatile gourds is their high vitamin A content. Those rich deep orange and yellow hues means the squash is packed with vitamin A, which helps keep eyes and skin healthy.
So give winter squash a shot this Fall! And don’t forget about the seeds inside. They bake up just as tasty as pumpkin seeds with a little olive oil and salt.
Wishing you happy, healthy eating! ~ Holly, RDN
University of Illinois Extension: http://extension.illinois.edu/veggies/wsquash.cfm
Cooking Light – Guide to Winter Squash: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/in-season/in-season-winter-squash
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!