It’s Squash Week

At least squash don’t attack like sharks!  I do feel, however, I’ve had a squash invasion at my house.  There’s so many types to choose from…

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Kobacha

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Blue Kuri

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Delicata

There are many more varieties, as you can tell by these pictures taken at the local farm stand:

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I’d never tried the blue kuri before so I picked one up just because I liked the name.  The delicata (my fave) and kobacha I’ve had.  Next I’ll have to try the turban squash — that’s the one in the picture on the left.  I love winter squash for their sweet pulp and ease of preparation.  You can see with these next few pictures how easy it is to roast or bake them.

IMG_1707 For the blue kuri, I just plopped it on a baking sheet and put it in the oven at 375° for about 45 minutes.  That’s in a convection oven, so you might want to raise the temp to 400°.  To tell if it is done, you just thump on the outside of the shell and you just know.  I think it’s sort of like those barbecue masters who can tell when a steak is done by touching it with their fingertips or something.  Anyway, the blue kuri came out perfectly.  Look at the insides:

IMG_1709It’s so much easier to cut them and scoop out the seeds after they’re cooked.  The flesh on this one is very similar to a pumpkin and works wonderfully well in soups.  It’s rich and sweet, firm and not stringy at all.  I can’t wait to try a tasty, cozy soup this weekend.

As for the delicata, I find this one very easy to make too.  I do slice it open, remove the seeds and roast it in a pan.  I like the little bit of a crunch the high heat gives it after I flip it over.
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So the way I do this one is 30 minutes “face down” in a little water, covered with foil.  Flip over and roast uncovered for another 30 minutes or until fork tender.  You’ll want to do this in a 375° / 400° oven as well.  This variety you can eat the skin.  I actually enjoy it cooled and sliced on my salad or mixed in with some mushrooms, kale, spices and other leftover veggies like peas or beans topped with some tahini & lemon.  I like this recipe that comes from the mastermind of my friend and fellow blogger, Carrie, from Carrie on Vegan.

I think I’ll give the kobacha a try at Thanksgiving time mixed with some rice or other grain (maybe quinoa), cranberries, sage, nuts and other ingredients to make a stuffing of sorts.  The neat thing about squash is with its thick skin, you don’t really need to worry about them spoiling on your countertop.  They last quite a while which is good because I tend to buy too many with great ambitions to go squash crazy and then I don’t.  This week, however, is a little bit of an exception.  And I’ll be sharing a recipe with you on Monday (if my soup turns out).  So stay tuned.

Health Benefits of Squash:

Winter squash contain many antioxidants which protect our bodies from free radicals (aka cancer-causing elements).  The more colorful the vegetable the more carotenoids they have, right? Well, hello! Can you get any more colorful than orange?  Be careful!  Your very own skin just might take on that same hue if you eat too much.  But what’s better than great-looking skin in the dead of winter?!

These squash(es) also have great anti-inflammatory effects, contain about one-third the amount of Omega-3s that walnuts have (and are much lower in fat), and only about 15% of the calories come from fat!

Coupled with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, squash just might be the food to include in a diet to keep away cardiovascular disease.
Source:http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63

And did you know that squash are in the same family as cucumbers and melons?  Wow! The amazing things you learn!

Wrap Up:
So now that you know everything there is to know about squash, check back here on Monday to see what, if anything, I made with my blue kuri ball of tastiness!

Toodles…

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