Excellent autumn vegetables, squash made their appearance on vegetable stalls a few weeks ago. It is time to benefit from the exceptional nutritional qualities of our cucurbitaceous friends! In the large family of cucurbitaceae, we find the winter squash, the pumpkin, the red kuri squash, the butternut squash (known as the doubeurre or courge musquée in French), the spaghetti squash, the gourd, the pattypan squash, etc. The squash season begins in September in France, and finishes in spring for certain varieties. October and November are the best months for the spaghetti squash, red kuri squash and the butternut squash, which has a very delicate flavour.
The orange colour of squash indicates the presence of beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, a strong antioxidant. The nutritional profile can vary according to the variety of squash. For example, low in calories (45 kcal per 100 g), the butternut squash is rich is vitamin A (10 630 IU/100 g), potassium (352 mg/100g), calcium (48 mg/100 g), magnesium (34 mg/100 g), vitamin C (21 mg/100 g), iron (0,7 mg/100g), vitamin B6 (0,2 mg/100 g) and fibre. Squash are excellent for health and even if some are delicious raw, cooking them brings out the beta carotene and enhances its action.
Soups or purées or course! But squash have many other surprises in store for you! Red kuri squash can be steamed or roasted, whole or chopped into pieces. It can also be eaten raw and grated into a salad, for example. Contrary to the pumpkin, red kuri squash come in many different sizes. Therefore, they are perfect for both small and large families. Another advantage is that the skin is edible, so there’s no need to peel it (if it is organic, of course).
Mixed with potatoes, oven–roasted squash chips will delight both kids and adults. Butternut squash is also delicious as a soup purée, with a bit of crème fraiche and tonka beans or even coconut milk and fresh coriander.
With its oval shape, the spaghetti squash can measure between 20 and 30 cm in length. It is cooked in the oven, whole. Once cooked, cut the squash in two and discover flesh made from long strands, similar to spaghetti. A good way to get the whole family to eat squash! You can also use squash when preparing gratins, mashed potato or lasagne. Let your imagination run wild or consult the many seasonal recipes.
An advantage of squash is that, if keep cool and dry, they can be stored for a long time (6 months at a temperature between 10° and 15° away from light), as long as they are not opened or damaged. Once opened, squash can be kept in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. If you want to keep them for longer, it is possible to freeze them: peel the squash and cut it into pieces before freezing. You can also freeze squash purée, which you can then season before eating.
Don’t throw away pumpkin seeds! Rinse and dry them. Several studies have shown that pumpkin seeds or their oil can be used to relieve the symptoms of irritable bladder syndrome and urinary problems, associated with benign enlargement of the prostate (1).
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