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Foods for the Fall Season

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Winter SquashHello, fall! Hello, fall foods!

I am so excited for the fall. I love the weather, the colors, the clothes, the promise of holidays on the horizon and, of course, the food. Not only does fall food bring cozy soups and comfy casseroles, but it also brings the unique, pretty, and one of the few native American produce species, winter squash.

A good source of fiber
There are many different types of winter squash and lots of reasons to eat them. They are a tasty source of complex carbohydrates (natural sugar and starch) and fiber. Fiber, also known as roughage, absorbs water and becomes bulky in the stomach. It works throughout the intestinal tract, cleaning and moving waste quickly out of the body. Research suggests that this soluble fiber plays an important role in reducing the incidence of colon cancer.

Winter squash is also a source of potassium, niacin and iron. The orange-fleshed squash is also an excellent source of beta carotene. As a general rule, the deeper the orange color, the higher the beta carotene content. Beta carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body is essential for healthy skin, vision, bone development and maintenance as well as many other functions.

What to look for when purchasing winter squash
Not all squash tastes the same so you may want to experiment to find the one you like. Many people are familiar with acorn squash but it isn’t the most full-flavored. Other popular varieties include butternut squash, buttercup squash, delicata squash and hubbard squash. When purchasing winter squash choose ones that are very firm and still have their stem. The skin should be somewhat dull and shouldn’t nick easily. Always look for one with deep, rich color. Most varieties can store at room temperature for weeks. The extra storage time actually concentrates its flavor. Plus, it looks so pretty on counter-tops.

Here are a few recipes to experiment with this fall.

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