Squash Squash the Magical Fall Treat

Every season seems to be coordinated with certain foods and recipes. There seems to be certain foods that just go with specific seasons.  Foods that you crave during those times. During the winter we tend to eat “warm”, like casseroles, soups, stews; comfort foods.   During the spring, strawberries become a popular food because they are in season. We also tend to eat lighter in the spring. Throughout the summer months the popular foods are ice cream, water melon, barbeque type foods, and salads.  For the fall, we like to eat turkey, pie, chili, or chicken pot pie. Fall is harvest time, apples, pumpkins, and squash become our favorites.  If you have noticed even restaurants, coffee shops, and other food chains follow this as they advertise their specials for different seasons.  If you go to your local Starbucks they will have all their pumpkin spiced drinks out and caramel apple lattes.  Even Family Fare has an assortment of new fall flavored cliff bars, like gingerbread, apricot and pumpkin spice.  Not only do pumpkin and squash go well with fall but their colors even match the season.

Speaking of squash here are a few fun facts you may not have known about squash:

  1. The word squash means “eaten raw” something that the American Indians practiced
  2. Butternut squash’s ancestors have been eaten for 10,000 years.
  3. Butternut squash’s predecessors originated in Mexico or Guatemala.
  4. Originally, the seeds were eaten and the flesh of the squash was not.
  5. The soluble fiber in this starchy vegetable makes it a better choice than traditional white potatoes for persons with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
  6. One cup of cooked butternut squash counts as 18 grams of carbohydrate or one carb choice.
  7. They are rich in beta-carotene, known for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits and may be protective against heart disease in persons with diabetes.
  8. Typically a butternut squash weighs 2-5lbs and serves up to 4 people.
  9. Butternut squash is in the same family as melons and cucumbers.
  10. The seeds in butternut squash are edible and quite tasty, especially if roasted and lightly salted like pumpkin seeds.
  11. Florida, California, Georgia, and New Jersey are major commercial producers for butternut squash in the United States.
  12. Great source of Vitamin A.  Also contains Vitamin C, fiber, potassium, manganese and folate.

Now that you know a little bit more about butternut squash and that it is super food.  Here is a perfect fall soup recipe you can try.

Squash and Apple Bisque

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash (2 pounds), peeled and cubed

1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

1 can (14 ½ ounces) ready-to-serve chicken broth

2 cups applesauce

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients except sour cream in 3 ½ to 6 quart slow cooker
  2. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours (or high heat setting 3 to 5 hours) or until squash is tender.
  3. Place one-third to one-half of the mixture at a time in blender or food processor.  Cover and blend on high speed until smooth.  Return mixture to cooker.
  4. Stir in sour cream.  Cover and cook on low heat setting 15 minutes or just until soup is hot;stir.
  5. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream

1 serving: Calories 140

Makes 8 servings

This is a great fall recipe you can try this week.  It is inexpensive, easy, healthy, and yummy.

 

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What’s up with this “Organic” food?

Written By Matt Kishler

If you haven’t noticed, the organic food industry has boomed tremendously over the past several years. Countless people have been discovering the many positive benefits associated with eating organic. So what exactly does it mean to eat organic?

The term “organic” refers to the way that products are both grown and processed. Organic products are some of the highest quality products on the market. These products must meet specific requirements to be labeled and sold as organic products. Organic products range anywhere from fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs to soaps, cleaning supplies, and even clothing. Organic crops are grown in healthier, nutrient rich soil, which results in higher quality crops.  Organic crops are also produced without the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and various other harmful chemicals. These chemicals are almost always used in traditional food production and can be very harmful to both your body and the environment. Organic meats come from animals that are raised without the use of antibiotics and various growth hormones. These animals commonly live in a free range environment, receiving much more humane treatment. According to the USDA, there are four categories of organic products:

  • 100% organic: These products must contain ingredients that are entirely organic.

  • Organic: Must contain a minimum of 95% organic ingredients.

  • Made with organic ingredients: These products must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.

  • Less than 70 percent of the content is organic: These products must only list the ingredients that are organic in the list of the products ingredients.

When purchasing organic products, you need to understand what degree the product is actually organic. Really take the time to look into what you are buying in order to make the best out of your purchases.

Yes it is true that organic products generally cost more than non-organic products. On average, you typically will notice an increase in price of roughly 10-25%. Don’t let this be a reason to turn away from these products. You are paying for a higher quality product here. Because of the higher cost, start with simply switching just  a few of your common purchases to organic products. You don’t need to stock your entire grocery cart with nothing but organic products.

There are many products that are more beneficial to purchase organic than others. Start by purchasing various organic meats, fruits, vegetables. You will notice a much better taste with these products. Vegetables that have an outer shell or peel are not as important to purchase organic because the edible inside is protected from chemicals. When purchasing fruits and vegetables, it is important to understand which are known to contain the highest levels of pesticides. We refer to this group as the “dirty dozen”. These fruits and vegetables are: apples, peaches, grapes, lettuce, spinach, carrots, peppers, strawberries, cherries, pears, celery, and nectarines. When you are shopping for your groceries, these are the fruits and vegetables that you should really consider purchasing organic.

Due to the increase in popularity, many farmers are starting to transition to organic farming. More and more organic products will be readily available at your local grocery store for your convenience. During your next trip to the grocery store, try purchasing a few of these organic products and truly enjoy the many excellent benefits that these products have to offer!

For more information on the many benefits of switching to organic foods, reading food labels, and shopping guides take a look at the website Organic.org. You will find a great deal of valuable information here. Enjoy!