Autumn is squash and pumpkin season. Green skinned kabochas, ridged acorns, coquina squash all make an appearance in early October. Squashes are generally better for cooking than the giant Jack-o-lantern varieties of pumpkins best for carving into ghoulish faces at Halloween, as their flesh is often watery and bland.
Winter squashes store well, are cheap when in season and hugely versatile.
Their delicate, sweet, nutty flavour pairs well with robust Mediterranean herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme and spices like sumac and cinnamon. Use them in soups, winter salads with gorgonzola or goat’s cheese, roasted with bacon and chorizo or use as a sweet substitute in bakes.
WHY EAT SQUASH?
- These autumnal gems are not just great in the kitchen. Squashes have also fantastic health benefits like keeping heart health, vision and waistlines in check thanks to their fabulous fibre and carotene content.
- The high content of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A may play also a role in the prevention of some cancers as well as reducing the appearance of skin wrinkles.
- Winter squash and their seeds also contain a good mix of the different B vitamins, which are vital in helping to regulate blood sugar. This coupled with their high fibre content means that pumpkins and squashes may offer some protection against type 2 diabetes.