Squash is loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It contains protein, carbohydrates, potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B, and C. Squash contains high potassium, which reduces urinary calcium excretion; people who eat high amounts of dietary potassium appear to be at low risk of forming kidney stones.
The nutrients found in squash are useful for the prevention of other conditions as well. High intakes of fiber-rich foods help to keep cancer-causing toxins away from cells in the colon, while the folate, vitamin C, and beta-carotene help to protect these cells from the chemicals that can lead to colon cancer.
The squash’s antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene also have anti-inflammatory properties that make them helpful for conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, where inflammation plays a big role.
In addition to the fruit, other parts of the plant are edible. Squash seeds can be eaten directly, ground into paste, meal, “nut” butter, or even a fine flour. The flowers, leaves, and tendrils can be eaten as vegetables. Unknown to many Filipinos, squash flowers are found to contain lutein, a plant phytochemical that prevents cataracts.
Squash Pastillas Recipe
- 1 kilo squash
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp lemon rind
- Cut squash into cubes and cook in boiling water until tender enough to mash into puree. Drain off water and cool.
- Scrape pulp from peel and press through sieve. Measure the squash pulp and add 1/2 cup sugar per cup of puree.
- Mix thoroughly. Cook over medium heat. Add butter. Stir constantly until thickened. Add lemon rind and continue stirring.
- Cooking is done if it forms a firm ball in cold water.
- Turn into a smooth board greased with butter. Level to 1/2 cm. thick.
- Allow to cool and into desired size.
- Roll in sugar and wrap with cellophane paper.
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