Serves You Right

Article Published: Dec. 15, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

The subtle sweetness of winter squash pleases the most finicky of eaters. Orange, yellow, green and even blue, they are beautiful enough to be used as table ornaments.

When browsing through your seed catalogs this winter, consider growing a few varieties next year, since they last up to three months if stored in a cool, dry place. Acorn, Spaghetti, Butternut, Blue Hokkaido, Hubbard, Kobocha and Delicata are easy to grow in the High Country.

Winter squash is an incredible source of beta-carotene, which has been shown to reduce your chance of getting nasty diseases like cancer and heart disease. Even though it has only 80 calories per cooked cup, it is full of fiber, which keeps you full.

Be sure to scrub with a vegetable brush under running water just before cutting. Once cleaned, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds before preparing. Roasted seeds make a tasty snack.

Roasted Winter Squash Seeds

1 cup winter squash seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. After removing the seeds from the squash, rinse with water, and remove any strings and bits of squash. Pat dry, and place in a small bowl. Stir the olive oil and salt into the seeds until evenly coated. Spread out in an even layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until seeds start to pop. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Fresh Fruit

1 butternut squash, peeled & cubed
1 apple, cubed
1 pear, peeled & cubed
1/2 cup figs, chopped (may substitute with 1/4 cup cranberries or raisins)
Ginger to taste
1 tablespoon melted butter or equivalent

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray or oil. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, place into a baking dish. Bake covered at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes until tender. To prepare in the microwave, cover and cook on high for 12 minutes.

Baked Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash for 2 people
1 tablespoon butter or equivalent per squash

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the concave of each squash half. Place in a ceramic baking dish with a lid. Add 1/4 inch water to the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle each squash half with cinnamon and cover with lid. Microwave until meat of the squash is tender, about 3 minutes for each squash. Mix the tender squash with the butter and cinnamon. May serve in the skin.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups and is the local food coordinator for Watauga County. To contact Margie, e-mail or call (828)264-3061

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