Winter Squash (Curcurbita maxima) is a member of the Curcurbitaceae (Gourd) Family. They originated Central America. The word “squash” is from a Narragansett and Iroquois word, askutasquash and isquoutersquash. Winter squashes include acorn, banana, buttercup, delicata, Hubbard, spaghetti and turban. They are generally harvested in the fall, have hard shells and large seeds. Winter squashes are warm, alkaline, and sweet. They are nourishing to deficiency, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, energy and immune tonics. Squashes clear toxins from the body, nourish the stomach and spleen. Their high antioxidant content helps prevent bladder, lung, skin, and stomach cancers, stroke and heart disease. They have been used to improve vision, reduce cataracts, treat bladder infections, lower cholesterol, improve dry skin, and promote weight gain. Winter squashes are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, sodium, carbohydrates, and fiber. In general, the darker colored squashes are more nutritious than paler ones.
Look for hard skinned, firm and smooth squashes that are heavy for their size. Those with the stem still attached will keep longer. They generally do not need to be stored refrigerated, just a cool, dry place. They must be peeled before eating which is easiest if they are first cut into segments. Use winter squash like pumpkin: in soups, pureed, puddings, and in pies. The flowers and seeds of all varieties are edible. The seeds are high in protein, beta-carotene and B complex and used to protect the prostate gland and eliminate worms.
“The art of healing comes from natures, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature with an open mind.” – Paracelsus (1493-1541)