Winter squashes are exceptionally high in complex-carbohydrates and are said to be medicinal for diabetics and those with digestive problems.
Squash is among the bounty of foods bequeathed to the world by the Native Americans. There are over 700 varieties of squash, several dozen of which are cultivated widely all over the world. Squashes belong to the same family as gourds, melons and cucumbers. They include summer squashes such as zucchini, crookneck, and patty pan, and the winter squashes such as acorn, buttercup, butternut, Hubbard, pumpkins, and turban are the most common types now available.
The word squash comes from the Narragansett and Iroquois words askut-asquash andisquoutersquash which mean, “eaten raw or uncooked,” though that culinary tradition has fallen out of fashion with this family of vegetables.
Squash is a trailing or climbing vine with large leaves and large, generally yellow, flowers. The part most commonly eaten is the round, seed-filled fruit called the pepo. Squash flowers are also edible. Winter squash is a very good source of vitamin A and other carotenoids. Carotenoids are antioxidants and protect against carcinogenic cell damage and blood vessel cell damage. A good winter squash packs a sweet wallop of flavor. They have a dark yellow to orange flesh and a thick rind. The sweetest squashes are generally those with the deepest colored flesh. When stored in a dry, cool area, a winter squash keeps into the spring. Summer squash is a good source of vitamin C, and both types are moderately good sources of magnesium and potassium.
Though individual squashes vary, a typical analysis of the dry components of squash runs 10.5% fiber, 65.5% carbohydrates, 9.0% protein & only 1/2% fat. Winter squashes are exceptionally high in complex-carbohydrates and are said to be medicinal for diabetics and those with digestive problems. Squash in its many myriad forms is quite popular from stuffed zucchini to pumpkin pie to baked butternut to steamed crookneck. Enjoy the bountiful harvest of these versatile vegetables as when we move into the colder, winter weather.