You couldn’t resist the idea of bringing home that perfectly shaped pumpkin or winter squash from the farmers market and using it as a natural centerpiece on your dining room table.
But after the fall holidays are over, and the ghouls and gobblers are replaced by snowmen and Santa, what can you do with your leftover fall decorations?
Well, plenty, according to local chefs and nutritionists.
Pumpkins and winter squash have long shelf lives, and can last for months if kept in the proper conditions. That means you can still eat them after Halloween and Thanksgiving have passed.
But best of all, they’re super-healthy.
“I love winter squash for its great nutrient profile,” says Gabrielle Snyder-Marlow, program manager of Christiana Care Health System’s Weight Management Center & Bariatric Surgery Program.
“The very deep orange squashes, such as pumpkin, provide about 195 percent of the adult requirement for vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene in one cup of cubes, with just 30 calories. It also provides some vitamin C, B vitamins and a little bit of iron.”
Beta-carotene is beneficial for skin, eye and heart health, and it’s been associated with cancer prevention.
Pumpkins and winter squash also are a good option for those following a low-carb lifestyle.
“Mashed pumpkin or butternut squash makes a great substitute for mashed potatoes,” Snyder-Marlow says. “It lends itself well to a variety of wintery flavors, such as vanilla, cinnamon, almonds and maple syrup. For a change of pace, these squashes also work well in savory dishes with sage.”
We asked foodies around Delaware to share their recipes for using those extra pumpkins and squash this fall, and here are a few of their favorites.