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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Spaghetti Squash


Spaghetti Squash: 

About:

Spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo) is a winter squash that received its name from its resemblance to cooked spaghetti (pasta).  Spaghetti squash is  also known as vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash, vegetable marrow, and squaghetti. 
Spaghetti squash is an oblong vegetable that measures from 8 - 14 inches in length and weighs 2 - 3 pounds,  Its flesh has a pale yellow color and it has a mild taste which is similar to pasta.  It is often used as a low carbohydrate substitute for pasta.

History:

Spaghetti squash originated in China.  In 1921 it was introduced to Japan by a Chinese agricultural research firm and was brought to the U.S. 15 years later.  It was commonly planted during WWII , but only gained popularity in the late 20th century.  

Uses: 

Spaghetti squash can be added to a number of dishes, such as soups and stews.  It can also be eaten raw.  When served like a pasta it can be topped with a wide variety of sauces.

Health Benefits:

Spaghetti squash is an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C, which can help prevent free radical damage to cells.  Other antioxidants in this squash are beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are linked to healthy vision and optimal eye health.   Spaghetti squash is also rich in B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin, which promote optimal cellular function. Folate, which supports the formation and development of new cells is found in spaghetti squash, which makes it good for pregnant women.  This nutrient can help filter out homocystene from your blood, which will promote cardiovascular health.  Spaghetti squash contains potassium, which is helpful to people with high blood pressure.  It also contains manganese, a mineral that assists in bone and tissue health, metabolism, calcium absorption, and nerve function.  Spaghetti squash also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fats , which are associated with the prevention of inflammation which may cause heart disease, arthritis, and certain types of cancer.


Season: 

Winter squashes are available year round.  Peek season is September through March.


Selecting and Storing:

All squash should have a solid heavy feel.  Choose spaghetti squash with a deep yellow colored skin.  An unripe squash will be marred with green marks and is best avoided.  Spaghetti squash can be stored at room temperature for several weeks. 

So ..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how. 


Simple but Good:


Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Hazelnuts, and Parsley

1 Spaghetti squash cut in half lengthwise with seeds and mush removed
4 slices bacon, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. hazelnuts, chopped
1 c. minced fresh parsley
Salt, olive oil, and sherry vinegar to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet and cover with foil.  Roast in oven 30 - 40 minutes until the squash can be easily pierced with a knife.  
Add bacon to skillet and cook on low heat.  As fat renders increase heat to medium high and cook until crisp.  Add garlic and chopped hazelnuts and cook until fragrant, about 2 - 3 minutes.  Add parsley.  
Use a fork to shred squash into strands
into a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt and gently stir.  Put a portion on a plate and spoon bacon, hazelnuts, and parsley over top.  Drizzle with olive oil and sherry vinegar
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