Winter squash

September 5, 2009, Posted by Carmen Lopez Marshall at 5:57 pm | No Comments

Winter squash (Australia: pumpkin) is a warm-seasoned vegetable, representing several species within the genus Cucurbita. It differs from summer squash in that it is harvested and eaten in the mature fruit stage, when the seeds within have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind. At this stage, most varieties of this fruit can be stored for use during the winter. It is generally cooked before eating.

Planting
Because squash is a tender vegetable, the seeds do not germinate in cold soil. They are also easily destroyed by frost. It is therefore necessary to plant after the soil is thoroughly warmed and all sign of frost has passed.

Nutritional value
Winter squash is a good source of complex carbohydrates such as starch, and also fibre.

It is an excellent source of vitamin A, a great source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese, and a good source of folate, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B1 (thiamin), copper, tryptophan, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) [1].

It is also a source of niacin, iron and beta carotene. Usually, the darker the skin is, the higher the beta carotene content.

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