The “Greens and Beans” page was created as a space to share nutrition information and recipe ideas for the bounty of life giving plants foods that we grow and make available to our community. It is for individuals who are interested in cooking and eating with the seasons.
The Story of One “Sister”
It has been a kind of awakening for me to take time each week to focus on just one plant food. I wasn’t aware that I had a visual image of snap pea flowers that could be described as “giant perfect snowflakes” or that tomatoes would send me off on a hybridization tangent or that I would EVER use the world love in a title (“Garlic Scape Love”). I mention connections a lot because they are so interesting and important and often revealing. When I sat down to contemplate winter squash this is what happened. I thought Beta Carotene..fall..three sisters…water…drought. This is what came to mind when I sat down to write about winter squash? I got stuck on water or lack of in this case.
This season’s crop of winter squash was planted outside our 3 acre market garden. Meaning no protection, no weeding and no irrigation. We did end up extending the electric fence to that area but beyond that the area just never made it to the top of the task list. It was stressful at first to know that we had planted those seeds and now we weren’t finding time to provide them with the most essential nutrient. Water.
But everything needed water. If anything had a chance to survive wouldn’t it be the three sisters? Native Americans didn’t irrigate did they? Is this why the rain dance came into existence? At this point I thought ..research Native American Agriculture..three sisters..irrigation…rain dance. I am still reading up on that but in the meantime I can tell you what happened to our three sisters in a drought year.
We did harvest winter squash from that field and a small bit of corn and the smallest bit of beans. As the weeks passed with no rain, I began to really feel connected to the history of the land. Wondering if Native Americans grew the three sisters on this exact plot of land. Romanticizing about the fact that we had waited for the rain just as the Native Peoples had. There was something special about the experience. I guess I never thought we could take a step that far back. Since tractors and drip lines and cultivators and none such are so easily accessible why would we? Like I said, there was just something special about the whole experience.
“Veggies of the Week” was winter squash. Our plates were loaded with delicious squash in many forms.
Baked Delicata Squash with sauteed kale, toasted walnuts and gorgonzola cheese.
Winter Squash Soup
Winter Squash Fritters and
Mixed Greens Salad with Radishes and Turnips.
Baked Squash with Sauteed Kale, Walnuts and Gorgonzola
4 Small Delicata Squash cut in half lengthwise and scoop seeds out. Don’t forget to save the seeds for toasting.
1 bunch lacinato kale (any variety works) chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup Walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle olive oil in a pyrex dish and place squash halves skin side up in dish. Bake until you can easily push a fork into the skin. About 30 minutes. While the squash is baking heat 2 tabelspoons of olive oil in a cast iron pan on a medium/high flame/burner. Add garlic to the pan and saute for about 1 minute. Be careful not to let it burn. Now add the kale and saute about four minutes while stirring. Set aside until the squash are finished cooking. Now fill each squash with kale and sprinkle on the toasted walnuts and gorgonzola cheese. You could serve as is but I like to put it back in the oven for about five minute to warm the cheese. Serve warm if possible.
Let’s Talk Nutrition
When you are holding a winter squash in your hands, you are basically holding a giant muti-vitamin/mineral capsule. That’s the way I look at it and from what I understand I am not the first. Native Americans would bury winter squash with their dead to provide them nourishment for their final journey.
Winter squash can be stored for up to 6 months and contains significant amounts of Vitamin A, Potassium, Calcium and Fiber.
Just 1/2 cup of baked squash with a pat of butter will give your child 100% of the Vitamin A they need for the day. That’s just looking at Vitamin A. I couldn’t help playing around with the charts and numbers a little more.
Serve your friends and family baked squash topped with black beans and sautéed kale and they will be getting all of the Vitamin A, Potassium and Calcium they need for the day. I had to stop myself there. I was feeling a little Wizard of Ozish. Vitamin A and Potassium and Calcium oh my! Antioxidants and protein and fiber oh my!
Try one of our winter squash recipe ideas to celebrate the harvest and help build up your bodies nutrient reserves in preparation for the longer, cooler, darker months of winter.
As so often happens if we allow it, when we trust and respect our natural surroundings, we find nourishment in our plant friends.
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