Squash is native to the Americas. Thought to be one of the first foods cultivated by Native Americans. Squash, along with beans and corn, is part of the Indian triad of the three most important food staples. Squash is actually a fruit, but thought of as a vegetable.
Squash seeds have been found in ancient Mexican archeological digs dating back to somewhere aruond 4,000 B.C. The first European settlers originally thought squash to be a type of melon since they had never seen them before.
0ur word “squash” comes from the Massachuset Indian word askutasquash, meaning “eaten raw or uncooked.” Although the Indians may have eaten some forms of squash without cooking, today we like our squash cooked.
Spaghetti squash is a good alternative to pasta, potatoes, or rice. The cooked squash flesh shreds into threads like thin spaghetti or vermicelli, hence its name.
The squash should be light yellow color and firm, with no bruises. Store whole at room temperature up to 3 weeks. Spaghetti squash is available year-round, with peak season in fall.
Locally, squash is grown on farm’s such as Crihfield’s in Ripley, WV, just a few minutes from Charleston.
Several restaurants in Charleston serve a delicious squash soup, such as Lola’s, Vandalia Grille, and Bridge Road Bistro.
One of the best things I’ve ever had was Roasted Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion Pecans, and Goat Cheese wrapped in Phyllo Dough on Salad; at the South Hills Market and Cafe.
The Little India restaurant serves deliciously cooked squash when it’s available, on the lunch buffet.
This recipe was given to me by Mary T. from Charleston. I met her at Crihfield’s produce stand at the Capitol Market.
How to cook spaghetti squash:
- place whole squash on a cutting board
- cut in half
- bake in preheated 375 F oven for approximately 1 hour, or until tender.
- scoop the seeds and fibrous strings from the center
- scrape around the edge of the spaghetti squash to shred the pulp into strands
Cooked spaghetti squash is usually fairly bland in flavor.
It may be served as a side dish with the addition of salt, pepper, and butter.
Try these recipes using spaghetti squash: Spaghetti Squash with Mediterranean Chicken Sauce, Turkey Tetrazzini with Spaghetti Squash, and Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Mozzarella.
Eat well and live long!
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