From the Farm: Winter Squash in our Late Summer Garden
We began harvesting our sweet potatoes a few days ago and the yields are looking great so far. If you can get a little rainfall and perform a thorough weeding before the vines really take off, sweet potatoes are a low maintenance crop for the most part.
One group of vegetables that I really enjoy growing each year, akin to the sweet potato in flavor profile (at least some of them) are winter squash. If you aren’t familiar, some of the more common varieties are spaghetti, acorn and butternut squash.
Quick Facts About Winter Squash:
- These squash take longer to mature than most summer squash (i.e. yellow crookneck or zucchini).
- Winter squash typically have a firm outer skin.
- Winter squash are vining plants as opposed to bush plants, and are usually sweeter in taste
- Though they are called winter squash, they are planted after danger of frost has passed and are harvested from late summer to fall.
We have been picking some of our winter squash recently and I think it is a little more satisfying than harvesting summer squash because they take much longer to mature and are not as prolific in terms of production.
While butternut squash is a pretty common vegetable, it is not used in the kitchen as much as many other vegetables. This is probably due primarily to the fact that it takes a little more time to prepare and cook. But if you aren’t opposed to a little preparation in the kitchen, then don’t forget about the ol’ butternut because it has some great health benefits.
Butternut Squash Can Reduce Inflammation & Improve Digestive Health
Butternut squash is high in potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. It is also a good source of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, and manganese. Bananas are a well-known source of potassium, but you may be surprised to find that one cup of butternut squash contains more potassium than a banana.
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin A is 900 micrograms for men and 700 micrograms for women. One cup of butternut squash contains 1144 micrograms of vitamin A! Butternut squash also contains ample levels of beta-carotene. Studies have shown that people who consume more beta-carotene have a reduced risk for asthma and colon cancer. Also a good source of fiber, butternut squash can aid in reduced inflammation and improved digestive health.
You can see that like most fruits and vegetables, butternut squash has a number of health benefits. Say it with me folks, “FOOD IS MEDICINE.” So if you want to enjoy a nice savory dish this fall, that’s good for your family, pick up some butternut squash at Farmview Market.
Brad manages our farm operations, which include our certified naturally grown farm outside Madison and the Kelly family’s plantation in Leesburg, Ga, known as Rock House Farm. Rock House Farm produces grass-fed beef, heritage Berkshire hogs, and two varieties of heirloom corn, among other crops.