Winter Squash

Winter squash is normally known for its carotenoids, a very important antioxidant, as well as an amazing amount of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. These nutrients are key to winter squashes anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Most winter squash is also a sweet root vegetable that can help with those sweet cravings.

Wonderful Winter Squash


How to Choose and Keep
The most common winter squashes are: Butternut, Delicata, Crookneck, Acorn, and Spaghetti. When you are choosing winter squash make sure it is firm, heavy, no sign of decaying, and not glossy. It is best to choose local and organic, as root vegetables can hold lots of pesticides. 


Preparation
I enjoy roasting winter squash the most. Rinse off with cold water before roasting. Set oven to 375-400 degrees. Cut the ends off and then cut in half. Scoop out the middle and either save the seeds for roasting or toss.  Add your favorite ingredients on top. My favorite is to add Earth Balance, Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar, and a tiny bit of cinnamon. Place on a baking sheet or dish and cook till it can be easily pierced with a fork. It will take roughly around 45-60 minutes, but all ovens and squashes vary.


Nutrients
Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Fiber, Manganese, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Vitamin K, Folate, Tryptophan, Copper, Vitamin B2, Omega-3 fats, and Magnesium


Action Steps
1. Choose 2 different kinds of squash.
2. Roast one individually (Spaghetti is best roasted alone) for a side dish.
3. Peel the other one and create a vegetable roast with brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, onions, and turnip. Roast at 375 for about 30-45 minutes. I like to mix them with rosemary, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

(Resources: WHfoods and Picture, Organic Garden Info)