Winter Squash is on it's way!
This week we are focusing on these brightly colored orange/yellow vegetables. They are rich in carotenes (alpha and beta) and are extremely healthy. The carotenes in these vegetables have been shown to be protective against cancer, heart disease, and even diabetes, as well as promote respiratory health. (Research shows that carotenoids are best absorbed when consumed with oil) They are excellent sources of vitamin C, B1, B6, K, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, potassium and fiber. These vegetables are rich in anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities and at the same time are low in calories.
Winter Squash includes Butternut, Acorn, Hubbard, Spaghetti, Turban, Kabocha, and Pumpkins. They are members of the Curcurbitaceae family. They vary in shape, size, texture and taste, but generally they have a hard, protective outer shell that allows them to be stored for relatively long periods of time. They also have inner cavities containing seeds.
If stored properly they can be kept for one to six months. They should be stored away from direct sunlight and not be subjected to extreme heat or cold, ideally being kept between 50-60 degrees. Once cut it should be stored in an airtight container or plastic bag with air removed and kept in the crisper section of the refrigerator. They will be good for 3-4 days, but will quickly lose their vitamin c content.