Autumn Health, Winter Squash

By Shari Darling

Squash, squash and more squash!  It’s the first food group that comes to mind when the autumn leaves turn gold, yellow and red.

Winter squash comes in all shapes and sizes.  It can be pumpkin round, butternut elongated or even pear-shaped.  Most winter squash, actually winter fruit, are best to be harvested in the fall.  They possess a long shelf life, actually cold cellar life in the basement, for a few months.  Hence the reason this fruit adopted its name of ‘winter’ squash.  When buying butternut squash, look for a matte finish.  Shiny squash are not yet ripe.

Low in fat, butternut squash is packed with vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin C, potassium (bones), vitamin B6 (nervous and immune system) and folate (heart, brain and spinal-cord health).  It is also a quality source of fibre, making butternut squash heart-healthy.  It is yet another underestimated superfood, as far as I’m concerned, loaded with carotenoids that protect against heart disease and help to fight against breast cancer and aging.  One cup of butternut squash offers about half of our recommended daily dose of Vitamin C.

Can red wine pair nicely with squash? The answer is yes.  Add savory ingredients to your squash-based dish and pair the dish with a red wine with forward fruit character and low astringency and tannin.  Choose reds like Zinfandel, Merlot and Shiraz.

Shari Darling is The Sophisticated Wino, an international award-winning and best-selling author and columnist.

For more on this story, including a delicious recipe, visit Shari’s website.

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One Response to “Autumn Health, Winter Squash

  • The thing about butternut sqsuah is that its a very delicate flavor, the nuttiness. I’ve made it many ways but to be honest, my favorite is to slice it in half, longways, and remove the pulp/seeds. Then I lightly coat the skin and inner surface with olive oil and a bit of cinnamon or other autumn-y spices.Then I bake it on a foiled sheet, facedown, at 400F until its nice and soft. Then just turn them over and enjoy. Sometimes I add a little butter or drizzle maple syrup. Brown sugar sprinkled on top and let to caramelize a bit is also delicious.

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