Pumpkins and squashes for good health!
Pumpkin and other winter squashes are excellent sources of vitamin A and potassium. Vitamin A is known to build resistance against infections and promote healing, while potassium is known to have a positive effect on blood pressure. They could also help in the prevention of heart disease and strokes. Take advantage of all the health benefits winter squash has to offer!
Tips and culinary advice for winter squashes
- Winter squashes must be firm and intact, free of blemishes or cracks.
- Choose a squash that feels heavy for its size with skin that is not shiny, a sign that it was harvested at maturity.
- Squashes that are too big are more fibrous; squashes that are too small have little flavour.
- Certain squashes have very tough skin that is easier to peel once cooked.
- Once cooked, squash can be pan-fried in olive oil with onions and garlic.
- It can also be added to risotto, served au gratin or with a béchamel sauce.
- It can be pureed with herbs or mixed with hard-boiled eggs and cheese.
- The flesh can be diced and added to soups, stews, couscous and curries.
- Purée, it can be served as is or mixed into mashed potatoes as a side dish.
- Winter squashes are an excellent substitute to sweet potatoes.
- Purée squash can be used to prepare muffins and cakes.
Winter squashes can be stored for two to ten months if kept away from cold, heat and light. Ideally, squash should be stored in a cool (10 to 15ºC) slightly dry and well-ventilated area.
Do not refrigerate winter squashes unless they are cooked or cut.
Squash flesh can also be frozen. To freeze in sections, simply blanch the pieces for one minute, cool immediately and place in freezer bags.
Squash that is cooked for 15 to 20 minutes and puréed, can be frozen for up to 12 months.