The winter darkness has settled in and we are all enjoying the coziness of twinkling lights and layered blankets. While we are under blankets at home, most vegetables and fruits are under a blanket of snow. This time of year, there may not be tons of options for fresh, local produce, but there are still enough to get all your nutrients. Potatoes, onions, apples, carrots, cabbage, and winter squash are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy during the dark winter months. You can find all of these tasty veggies at the CCE Niagara Veggie Van, a mobile farmers market.
Winter squash is a great choice for taking in vitamin A, potassium, magnesium and beta carotene. These nutrients help your muscles, skin, hair and eyes.
Winter squash, like butternut squash, can be intimidating to cut. However, with a few simple steps, it can be easy.
To start, wash your squash under warm running water. Then, use a vegetable peeler to peel the exterior skin from the squash. Once all the peel is removed, use a sharp knife to cut off part of the bulbous end. This helps to create a flat surface, so the squash won’t roll around. Then, you can cut the long “neck” of the squash into small chunks. Cut the bulb of the squash in half and remove the seeds. You can wash and save them to plant next spring or toast them like pumpkin seeds for a tasty snack.
If you are tight on time, check your grocer’s freezer for frozen butternut squash. It is peeled and chopped already. Frozen vegetables and fruit are just as nutritious as fresh, plus they can be less expensive.
This month’s recipe comes from www.SNAPEDNY.org. It’s a great choice for your holiday table or any winter meal. Yummy squash and vitamin C-rich cranberries make it a bright, flavorful and tasty side to any meal.
Holiday Butternut Squash
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
2 pounds butternut squash
1/4 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter or canola oil
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Rinse and peel squash. Cut off ends and discard. Cut squash at the neck, creating a narrow end and a round end. Cut round end in half and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Cut both ends into ¾-inch, even-sized cubes.
Coarsely chop walnuts. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add squash. Toss with oil, sage, salt and ground black pepper.
Spread squash evenly on a baking sheet. Roast, stirring once, until tender, about 35 minutes.
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