Natures Beauty - Squash

NATURES BEAUTY - LILY

Easter is upon us, and no flower is more associated with the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection than the lily. Traditional lore says white lilies emerged where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the earth in his final hours on the cross. The ancient Greeks believed lilies came from the breast milk of Hera, the queen of the gods. In Roman mythology, Venus, the goddess of beauty, was jealous of the flower’s white loveliness. A European legend says if you approach an expectant mother holding a lily….

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NATURES BEAUTY - SQUASH

Is squash a vegetable or a fruit? You would probably call a zucchini squash a vegetable, but you would most likely call a pumpkin a fruit. The definitive answer, from a botanical view, is squash are fruits because they contain the seeds of the plant.  Squash are some of the oldest cultivated crops on earth, believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America more than 10,000 years ago. The word squash comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means…..

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NATURES BEAUTY - CINNAMON

One of the best-loved spices of cooks and food lovers alike is cinnamon. Made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree, cinnamon has been around since the days of ancient Egypt, where it was used to embalm mummies. The tree is native to the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia. Indonesia and China produce three-quarters of the world’s supply of cinnamon today.

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NATURES BEAUTY - SQUASH

Is squash a vegetable or a fruit? You would probably call a zucchini squash a vegetable, but you would most likely call a pumpkin a fruit. The definitive answer, from a botanical view, is squash are fruits because they contain the seeds of the plant.


Squash are some of the oldest cultivated crops on earth, believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America more than 10,000 years ago. The word squash comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means “eaten raw or uncooked.” Within the United States, California, Florida, Georgia and Michigan grow the largest volume of squash.


Squash is usually divided into two categories, summer and winter squash. Summer squash typically require about 50 to 70 days of growth; they are harvested before they reach full maturity. Winter squash typically require about 90 to 120 days of growth; they are allowed to fully mature. Summer squash can be planted in the spring and harvested in the summer. Winter squash can also be planted in the spring but is not harvested until the fall. Summer squash is further separated into four groups: crookneck, zucchini, straightneck and pattypan or scallop. They are distinguished by their thin, edible skins and soft seeds. Because of their high water content, summer squash do best if they are stir fried, grilled or sautéed. Summer squash is an excellent source of copper and manganese, as well as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, calcium and iron.

Winter squash are so named because they can be stored throughout the winter due to their thick, inedible skins. Some winter squash varieties grow on bushes, while others grown on vines. They, too, are subdivided into four species: cucurbita pepo (acorn and spaghetti squash); cucurbita moschata (calabaza); cucurbita mixta (butternut and others); and cucurbita maxima (Hubbard, turban, banana and other squashes). The flesh of winter squash is firmer than the flesh of summer squash, so they must be cooked longer. Winter squash is an adequate source of heart-healthy omega-3s, folate and vitamins B2, B3 and B6. They also provide nearly 6 grams of fiber per cooked cup. Both varieties of squash are high in vitamin C, as well as iron. Squash with orange-colored flesh are great sources of carotenoids and vitamin A, providing up to 42 percent of your recommended daily value of these nutrients.


The wide variety of squash available is enticing for an adventurous cook. Butternut squash, which features a large bell-shaped bottom section and a slimmer, tapering neck, has a sweet flavor. Kabocha squash has a mottled white and green skin with vertical pale greenish- white stripes and is more savory than other squash. Spaghetti squash gets its name because its flesh separates into

long thread-like pieces reminiscent of spaghetti when scraped with a knife, fork or spoon. All types of squash are wonderfully versatile; you can incorporate them into soups, casseroles and even desserts and pair them with other vegetables and fruits. Don’t squash your creativity when it comes to cooking with these colorful, healthful fruits.


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TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler