Ah, the month of October. What would it be without the colors in the trees, the air that refreshes slowly and leads to the winter, and especially Halloween and its pumpkins decorated by thousands!
Did you know that in addition to decorating your home, pumpkins and other squashes can be cooked to create tasty autumn dishes, for the enjoyment of both grown-ups and kids?
Spaghetti squash, butternut squash, pepper squash, pumpkin, delicata... there are actually hundreds of varieties of squashes with colors, shapes and tastes so rich and varied that it would be a real shame not to enjoy them!
Historically, squashes are native to Central and South America where they have been consumed for over 10,000 years. First imported to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors, then to the rest of the world, they have won the hearts and cuisines of countless homes.
Curious to learn more? Here are 4 reasons to include squash in your diet:
1. For its nutritional value
Squashes are known for their orange flesh. Like carrots, this color is due to the presence of beta-carotene, one of the precursors of vitamin A. This vitamin promotes good vision and healthy skin while having antioxidant properties. In addition to beta-carotene, squashes contain other types of antioxidants as well as a lot of nutrients. With only 43 calories per 125ml (1/2 cup) portion, butternut squash is a source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folic acid, pantothenic acid and manganese.
2. For its good taste and unlimited possibilities
Squash can be used to make many dishes, sweet as well as savory. There is something available for all tastes! Want a nice lunch that will warm up your heart? Opt for a pumpkin oatmeal that, in addition, can be prepared the day before!
Want an economic snack to bring with you everywhere? The butternut muffin will fill you up when you get a bit peckish.
You have the taste of spaghetti, but you're out of pasta? A spaghetti squash is an ideal replacement!
Winter is here, and you're frozen to the bone? Warm yourself up with a hearty ginger-curry pumpkin soup.
Above all, do not discard the seeds when emptying your squash. Pop them in the oven for a healthy snack or to add crunch to your salads and soups.
3. To encourage local producers
Today, Ontario and Quebec are the two largest producers of pumpkins and squashes in Canada. In 2015, Quebec produced 14,149 tons of pumpkins, covering an area of approximately 524 hectares for a market of approximately $ 3.3 million. This production represents approximately 22% of total Canadian production.
It is very easy to find many local producers in the surroundings of Montreal producing a wide variety of squashes. It is even common to pick your own sqash in the field! This is a great opportunity to spend time with your family and to involve the youngest in the making of squash meals, from the field to the plate!
4. For its affordable price
With a price of around 20 to 40 cents per 100g, squashes are a very affordable food, especially when they are in season. At room temperature, they can even be kept for up to 3 months. So, enjoy them when they are still in season and stock up for the winter months!
There are as many varieties of squashes as there are ways to cook them, so be curious and explore them!