Although some people are squeamish about squash, there are satisfying and nutritious ways to liven up a meal, especially on cool autumn evening when appetites are at the ready.
Winter varieties such as buttercup, Turk’s turban, Hubbard, pepper, spaghetti and butternut are widely available and should be consumed when fully ripe; they need to be peeled and seeded prior to cooking.
Winter squashes should be fell firm and heavy for their size. Look for hard skin free of soft spots, cracks or discoloured areas.
Despite their tough exteriors, they require careful handling. They can be stored for several weeks in cool, dry and well-ventilated places. Butternut and Hubbard squashes are especially long lasting.
Winter squashes rival cabbage, carrots, potatoes and spinach for nutritional value. They supply complex carbohydrates and fibre as well as potassium, niacin and iron. They are high in antioxidants, beta-carotene, and a good source of vitamin A. Also they are low in sodium and calories.
Culinary squashes are versatile. They can be boiled, stuffed, baked, worked into soups, purees, gratins and even desserts.