Some Random (but Useful) Thoughts on Winter Squash
Did you know the “winter” in winter squash refers to the period of time it is stored and not the period of time it is grown as many may assume. That’s just one of the little things that may be unknown about this rather useful, beneficial, and tasty vegetable.
Many varieties of winter squash are rich in properties that promote health in different areas of the body.
Some have claimed that winter squash helps ease some of their arthritic symptoms. It doesn’t cure arthritis, but folks have claimed that it eases the pressure and tension they feel in there joints. This may be due to the anti-inflammatory properties found mostly in Spaghetti Squash and Butternut Squash.
If only sailors hundreds of years ago knew about the high levels of vitamin A and vitamin C in Butternut squash, they may have avoided spouts of scurvy, which is basically a vitamin C deficiency. Its long shelf life (if stored right) would have been perfect for sea travel in that time, giving sailors access to foods with a high nutritional value.
Researchers have been led to believe that winter squash may help prevent colon cancer because of the high levels of beta-carotene found it them. Beta-carotene is also found in carrots and oranges—usually found in yellow to orange fruits and vegetables.
One may not associate winter squash with high fiber fruits and vegetables. The texture and flavor seem a bit on the creamy side to contain substantial servings of fiber. In fact, pumpkin contains 3 grams of fiber per half cup.
One more thing: the hard shell of winter squash may be intimidating. It may seem like you need to take an ice pick to it just to get to the flesh. Often this is what causes people to not give some varieties of winter squash a chance, such as Delicata and Butternut. But there’s good news—in a few easy steps, you can get that skin off with ease.
It’s just a matter of softening the skin. Some poke holes in the rind with a fork and put in the microwave for a few minutes, but I prefer to simmer the whole squash for two to three minutes in water. Take out and cut in half. If the skin is still too tough, simmer the two halves for another two to three minutes. By now the rind should be soft enough to peel with a traditional vegetable peeler.
- Jordan Freytag