Winter Squash - Vegetable of the Month - November

Squashes are grown widely in North Cyprus being an excellent winter vegetable as its hard skin means it can be stored for several months.

Squashes originally came from Central and Southern America and were first discovered by the wider world after the conquest of the America’s by Europeans. The Butternut squash was originally breed in the 1940s in America. Squashes are grown widely in North Cyprus being an excellent winter vegetable as its hard skin means it can be stored for several months.

Butternut squashes have become very popular in recent years and a wide range of recipes are available. It can be roasted, sautéed, toasted, pureed for soups, or mashed to be used in casseroles, breads, muffins, and pies. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer.

Look for a squash that feels heavy for its size; one with a fat neck and small bulb will have the smallest seed cavity, yielding the most meat.

Health Benefits

The butternut squash is a great source of fibre, as well as vitamins including A, C, E and B vitamins along with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

Research has shown that certain phytonutrients, such as zeaxanthin and lutein, may help to protect eye health, and butternut squash contains both of these carotenoids. Vitamin A also plays a role in eye health and healthy cell renewal, and diets that are high in fruit and vegetables, including butternut squash, are rich in antioxidants which appear to offer eye protection benefits.

Butternut squash seeds have been cited for reducing social anxiety disorder.

Beta-carotene, found in butternut squash, helps to support the natural function of the immune system, along with vitamin A which can help to prevent infections. A 2016 study found that diets high in vegetables containing beta-carotene, vitamin C, zinc and sodium were positively associated with healthy bone mass in postmenopausal women. All of these are found in butternut squash making it an excellent vegetable to add to your diet.

Just 100g of butternut squash contains around 2g of fibre, which is 7% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fibre for adults. According to the NHS, most of us don’t eat enough fibre, getting around just 18g a day. There is strong evidence that fibre is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, bowel cancer and type 2 diabetes, but that it can also help digestion and prevent constipation. Three tablespoons of cooked butternut squash counts as one of your five-a-day vegetables.

Butternut squash with Persian pistachio pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds

This is a delicious Persian style dish by Sabrina Ghayour which uses many of the local ingredients in season at the moment. Also suitable for vegans if you substitute the feta for a vegan cheese option.

Source: wikepedia, BBC Good Food,,your%20five%2Da%2Dday.

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