While it may not be winter yet, it sure feels like it, so I want to pay tribute to Winter Squash, which is at it’s prime right now. With the cold weather comes flu season and winter squash is one of the richest sources of plant based anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega 3s and beta-carotene, which are important for a strong immune system to help protect against colds and flu. Winter squash is an excellent source of immune-supportive vitamin A. It is also a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, manganese, and copper, potassium, vitamin B2, folate, vitamin K, pantothenic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and niacin.
Most of us are familiar with Butternut Squash or Acorn Squash, both in the Winter Squash family. At the farmer’s market I always see different varieties of squash so I thought why not try something new this week. I ended up choosing Kabocha squash, which is a type of Japanese squash that is very sweet in flavor and has deep green skin and orange flesh. Quick and easy to cook, it’s the perfect side to any dish!
How to Cook:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
2. Cut squash in half and remove seeds (but don’t throw them away! *see below…).
3. Cut each half in half so now you have four pieces.
4. Fill a glass pan with water (about 1/3 of the way) and place squash in with the inside flesh face down (skin up) and cover with tin foil.
6. Bake in oven for 45 minutes until very tender.
7. Let cool and then use a spoon to scoop out the squash (separate flesh from skin). 8. Add a little bit of unsalted butter and cinnamon, blend together and serve.
*Don’t throw away those seeds! Seeds from winter squash make a great snack, just like pumpkin seeds. Scoop pulp and seeds out and separate the seeds. Place on a cookie sheet (single layer) and lightly roast them at 160-170°F in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Roasting seeds for a short time at a low temperature can help minimize damage to their healthy oils. Linoleic acid (the polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid) and oleic acid (the same monounsaturated fatty acid that is plentiful in olive oil) account for about 75% of the fat found in the seeds.