The rise in popularity of pumpkin among consumers has also led to its appearance in many formats in typical stores. As we have mentioned, the peanut variety is the most common and easy to find; You can buy whole pieces or portions, already packed or by weight, if you go to a greengrocer or a more traditional market.
In the case of buying it whole, it is advisable to choose a specimen that weighs, with the skin without visible damage, or at least without bumps, wrinkles, or cracks. It must be firm to the touch and keep the upper peduncle, which will lengthen the conservation time. If we do not open it, we can keep it at room temperature in a dark, well-ventilated place, away from apples and other fruits that can accelerate their ripening. It will last like this for many weeks or months if the temperatures are relatively mild; summer varieties should be kept in the fridge.
Once opened, it must be kept refrigerated, in special containers for vegetables or a perforated bag, unless it is going to be consumed soon, in which case we can place it in an open-source or container. It can also be frozen, preferably cooked or blanched, although it will give good results if we freeze large raw pieces, without skin, better under vacuum.
We can also find squash in the form of spirals or vegetable spaghetti, much firmer and more grateful to cook than zucchini since the pumpkin does not become soft as soon as cooked.
As the weather cools, winter squash enters its prime. Winter squashes differ from summer squashes in that the fruit and seeds of the squash have ripened and the outer rind has hardened, unlike the soft rind of yellow squash or zucchini, which are summer squash. . Winter squash comes in many varieties and is generally in season from August to October.
Acorn squash is a small winter squash that is dark green and orange on the outside and orange-yellow. Acorn skin is edible and full of fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol.
Butternut squash is pear-shaped with cream-colored skin and orange flesh inside. Butternut squash is known to be the sweetest variety of winter squash.
Pumpkins are another type of winter squash, but the varieties used for cooking and baking are smaller than the giant pumpkins used for lanterns. The giant pumpkins used for decorations are not very tasty compared to the sweet flavors of smaller varieties.
Spaghetti squash is oval with yellow skin and flesh. When cooked, the inside of a spaghetti squash resembles strings of spaghetti.
There are many other varieties of winter squash to discover at your farmer’s market. All winter squash are great roasted or steamed, and some can even be microwaved!
How to choose and store
In general, when choosing a winter squash to buy, the squash should have a firm outer shell that is free of soft spots and cracks. Winter squash should feel heavy for their size. Unlike summer squash, winter squash does not need to be stored in the refrigerator. Instead, winter squash should be stored in a cool, dry place like a table or pantry and kept out of sunlight. Winter squash can last one to three months in the right environment and depend on the variety.
One more year comes autumn, and with it the appreciated pumpkin, the star of autumn. You won’t tell me no, around autumn food, the arrival of this season marks the beginning of products rich in beta-carotene, with orange tones and colors, like the leaves that fall and the sunsets typical of these months in which It begins to get dark earlier, and we begin to notice that the heat leaves us to give way to the more autumnal cool.
Autumn is here, and there is no doubt.
The pumpkin is the fruit of the gourd, usually large, powerful, and with a thick rind. In food, it stands out for its much pulp rich in nutrients and its large flowers, which are a delight. We can also find it in different formats, from the traditional Halloween pumpkin to the peanut pumpkin, all of them in different shapes and colors.
Pumpkin, the star of autumn
Without a doubt, what predominates in pumpkin is its color, a powerful orange color that already indicates that we are facing an essential source of carotenes.
Carotenes provide us with antioxidants for our body, thanks to which we neutralize free radicals, thus preventing and slowing down the appearance and development of some diseases.
Although carotenes are essential in the composition of pumpkin, its vitamins are no less so, abundant C, which, while carotenes help prevent bad cholesterol, being an ally in the fight against cardiovascular diseases.
Also noteworthy is its lycopene and vitamin B content; pumpkin is rich in folic acid, of great importance, especially in pregnant women, as it prevents neural tube defects in babies.
What properties can we attribute to the pumpkin?
We are facing a food that helps us lose weight, thanks, especially to the amount of water it contains. It is also a satisfying food that gives us very few calories, so it is advisable to include it in weight loss and fat loss diets.
The pumpkin is also mostly water, and this helps us avoid fluid retention and thus eliminates toxins from our body.
The pumpkin, in addition, is rich in fiber, so it becomes an aid in cases of constipation, thus also taking care of our intestines.
The beta-carotene in the pumpkin is responsible for its representative orange color. In our body, this substance is transformed into Vitamin A, responsible for the correct functioning of the eyes and the skin. Why do we want creams full of chemicals if we have pumpkin in our hands, which takes care of our skin thanks to its antioxidants? Youth within everyone’s reach.
In cases of anemia or iron deficiency, pumpkin helps us alleviate its effects, thanks to its high iron content, so we also recommend it in cases of heavy menstruation or typical blood loss, for example, after childbirth or a blood donation.
It also contains tryptophan, a natural antidepressant, so in cases of depression or general decline, include pumpkin in your daily diet, and you will see how it helps combat these moods. Invariably, after consulting the family doctor, feeding by itself does not cure, although it does help.
In cases of insomnia, it is also favorable, thanks to the tryptophan as mentioned above. A warm pumpkin cream at this time is the best remedy against insomnia.
In cases of diabetes, thanks to the fact that its carbohydrates are slowly absorbed, thanks in part to its fiber content, it makes the sugar levels constant, so it is also recommended to consume the pumpkin, as we say, at the start of autumn.
Another advantage that pumpkin brings us is that thanks to its large amount of vitamin C, it protects our immune system, taking care of us at this time when colds are so favorable.
In cases of heartburn, gastritis, or digestive problems, you can also benefit from the properties of pumpkin, which in these cases will help soften and protect the intestinal mucosa.
The pumpkin, the autumn star, and a superfood within reach of all pockets. A traditional food that reminds us that autumn is here invites us to prepare succulent dishes in which she will be the protagonist. But, and how to cook the pumpkin? Let’s see.