Bursting with flavor, vitamins, minerals and fiber, all varieties of winter
squash currently appearing in farmer’s markets and grocery store
produce sections are true nutritional super foods.
Just one ½ cup serving delivers 100% of your daily vitamin A requirement
and a mega dose of antioxidants at a skinny 37 calories.
There’s a huge selection to choose from. Old favorites like pumpkins,
acorn, butternut and Hubbard squash are now joined by newer varieties
like sweet mama, sweet dumpling and buttercup. Look for pumpkins and squash
that feel heavy, and are free of cuts, mold or cracks. Protected by that
hard, tough skin, most kinds of squash will stay fresh for up to three
months when stored in a dry, cool place. Thoroughly wash skins before
cutting squash to remove any possible bacteria or contaminants.
The yellow and deep orange color of the flesh of winter squash comes from
the antioxidant beta carotene, which is credited with helping to prevent
chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer, and could also slow age-related
macular degeneration. The vitamin A in squash supports a strong immune
system, healthy skin, and good vision.
More good news about the nutritional benefits of squash – its high
vitamin C content can help lower blood pressure, and even protect arteries
from damage. Also, the Potassium in squash helps the heart, kidneys, muscles
and digestive system function smoothly.
Buying this nutritional powerhouse in season, and locally, gives you the
benefit of the freshest meals this fall, while you’re also supporting
your local economy.
While raw squash is a delicious addition to soups, smoothies and juices,
the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) even uses the seeds for an extra serving
of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Guests love the savory Pumpkin Seed Crackers,
which are easy to make at home:
Dehydrated Pumpkin Seed Crackers
Yield: 12 1-ounce servings
1 cup soaked pumpkin seeds, rinsed
½ cup soaked sesame seeds, rinsed
½ chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped yellow onion
½ chopped firm tomato
¾ cup chopped zucchini
¼ sprig fresh basil
¼ tbsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tbsp. tomato powder
Place half of the pumpkin seeds and half of the sesame seeds in mixing
bowl. Blend remaining seeds in Vitamix with vegetables, herbs and spices
until mixture is smooth. Add mixture to mixing bowl with whole seeds and
stir well with spatula. Spoon onto dehydrator trays in ½ inch tall
clumps; do not flatten. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for two days, turning
crackers over after the first day.
Savor nutrient-rich squash dishes and other delicious raw, live, organic
vegan meals during a stay at the Optimum Health Institute healing missions
in San Diego and Austin, Texas. You’ll enjoy a different lunch and
dinner each day of our 21-day program when you choose to do all three
weeks at once. While each week can be done separately, an extended stay
deepens the healing experience. Come help us celebrate 40 Years of Holistic
Healing as our caring team helps you achieve your mental, physical, emotional
and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at
www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at
(800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.