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|by Megan Jackson
|As we get ready for autumn
and all that comes with it, it seemed appropriate to focus on one of
the last vestiges of our warm summer: summer squash. Obviously there
are differences between summer and winter squashes; the summer variety
is more tender so you are able to eat the skin and seeds, and that it
does not keep as well as winter squash (try keeping a summer squash
until December and let me know how it works out). In fact, the "summer"
and "winter" labels refer back to the past when observation of the
seasons was more critical for human survival. The "winter" squash
implied that the squash would keep into the winter; thus summer squash,
available for a shorter period time was named for being the opposite.
Amazingly, squash seeds have been found in caves in Mexico dating back
10,000 years. Squash spread to the rest of the Americas over time and
became a staple crop to many Native American diets; think of the "Three
Sisters" of the Iroquois (corn, beans, and squash). The word "squash"
was shortened by European settlers from its original Native American
name; the word it originated from means "eaten raw or uncooked." With a
name like that, it seems that earlier peoples recognized eating squash
raw is most beneficial for your health. And as with many fruits and
vegetables, this is true. However, it has been found that summer squash
retains a large amount of its antioxidants after being lightly steamed
(this applies to previously frozen summer squash also). With squash
having the more typical antioxidants, like manganese and vitamins A and
C, our cell health benefits. In addition to these, there are also the
carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are specifically beneficial to
our eye health.
Summer squash has also been found to benefit blood sugar regulation. It
has many nutrients, such as many B complex vitamins, zinc, magnesium,
and omega-3 fatty acids. Initial studies are also finding the pectin in
summer squash helps to keep insulin metabolism and blood sugar levels
in balance. It also has 2.5 grams of fiber per cup, and getting enough
fiber also helps to maintain blood sugar levels. If you haven't already
had one this season, you may want to pick up a summer squash before
they have past.
¾ cup water
Shake of salt
2 medium potatoes, sliced
1 cup fresh cut green beans
1 small to medium onion, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 small to medium yellow summer squash, sliced
1. Bring water and salt to boil in skillet.
2. Add sliced potatoes to skillet. Layer green beans on potatoes. Then
add sliced onion on top. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
3. Add sliced zucchini and squash. Cover, simmer 5 minutes or until
vegetables are crisp-tender.
4. Serve hot plain or with Lemon Herb Butter (¹⁄₃ cup melted
butter. 1 TBS lemon juice, ½ tsp salt, dash of pepper).
2–3 TBS lemon juice
4 TBS olive oil
2 medium summer squash (yellow and/or green), thinly sliced in
6 oz arugula leaves
½ cup fresh herbs (basil or parsley), sliced or chopped
1. Zest most of lemon into a bowl. Add juice. Whisk in olive oil.
2. Layer sliced squash in a flat dish. Pour ²⁄₃ of the dressing
over the squash and season with salt and pepper. Let marinate for 15–30
3. Combine arugula and herbs in bowl. Add squash mixture. Toss and add
more dressing if wanted.
"Raw Summer Squash Salad." Kalyn's Kitchen. 5 July 2012. Web. 2
"How Did the Squash Get its Name?" Everyday Mysteries. 24 Aug. 2010.
Web 8 Aug. 2012.
"Steamed Summer Vegetables." Cooks.com. 2012. Web 2 Aug. 2012.
Stradley, Linda. "Squash, Squash Varieties, Different Types of Squash,
Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Squash Recipes." What's Cooking America.
2012. Web. 8 Aug. 2012.
"WHFoods: Squash, Summer." The World's Healthiest Foods. 5 Aug. 2012.
Web. 8 Aug. 2012.
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