Don’t squash the squash
Squash (skwäsh, ˈskwȯsh ) Put the beat-down on an object until reduced to a nasty pulpy mess (v.), Goofy game played with weenie little racquets and a lethal flying ball. A vegetable* totally ignored until Thanksgiving or Christmas (n).
Not just for the holidays anymore
Unfortunate but true, in many households squash doesn’t see the light of day until the Fall and winters holidays robbing family members of a good (as well as tasty) source of folates, vitamins A and C and fiber on a regular basis. There are several main varieties of squash , but types range from the gourd all the way up to the giant pumpkin. The common types the shopper might encounter are zucchini, summer squash, acorn, and butternut. Some lesser known, but equally tasty types are spaghetti squash, chayote, and Mexican gray. We owe the existence of this wonderful vegetable to some of the first inhabitants of our continent. Early Indians of Central and South America depended on squash as one of three pillars of their diet and may have cultivated it as long as 10,000 years ago. In fact the natives practiced some pretty sophisticated farming by growing squash with maize and beans (companion crops) the squash vines helping to keep the weeds down. Corn stalks acting as a trellis, and the beans helping to put Nitrogen in the soil.
Squash can provide us the same benefits as it did it’s first cultivators as well as expanding the diet of the American family. There are many recipes from soup to broiled making the squash a vegetable for all occasions. With the spaghetti squash, the innards can be pulled out and treated just as one would the pasta of the same name. Up for a sweeter taste – try chayote, a pear shaped squash from Mexico. Then there’s the old stand by, zucchini that is good cooked, grilled, or sliced thin in salads. A very versatile veggie indeed. One method that the “Take Home Chef” came up with was to halve the zucchini lengthwise, cut the resulting pieces in half, and scoop out the seeds. Fill the resulting cavity with ricotta cheese, sprinkle on mozzarella, and a little Parmesan an place under the broiler until the cheese is browned and bubbly.
The Cucurbita cook
So though generally only cooked up on Fall fests, squash can be a really healthy addition to the everyday table. Be daring and try some different varieties of squash, try roasting pumpkin and making puree for pies, or make a butternut squash soup. Not only will squash help keep the family healthy, but expand the cook’s repertoire as well.
* Rule of thumb: Seeds on the outside Veggie, seeds on the inside fruit, except for squash and tomato because some genius in the gov’t got involved.
Where can I get one of those things?
13828 W. Waddell Rd.
Surprise, AZ 85379
Store Phone: 623-476-1810
Open daily 5:00 AM-11:00 PM
15510 W. Bell Rd. (at N. Reems Rd.),
Surprise, AZ 85374
Waddell & Reems
15367 W Waddell Rd
Surprise, AZ 85379
Mon – Fri 6 AM – 11 PM
Sat 6 AM – 11 PM
Sun 6 AM – 11 PM