Squash was cultivated in the Americas for at least six thousand years and honored by many Native tribes. Squash has been considered one of the "Three Sisters" from tribal legends of squash, corn and beans representing three sisters who were inseparable, thus the plants are planted together benefiting each others' growth. The word squash is from a Native American name askootasquash, meaning, "eaten raw."
There are a multitude of summer squash varieties that are closely related to the popular zucchini (Curcurbita pepo) (called marrow by the British and courgette by the French). Yellow squashes include crookneck. They are all in the Curcurbitaceae (Gourd) Family, making them relatives of cucumber, pumpkin and watermelon.
Summer squashes are alkaline, alterative (blood purifying), anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and diuretic. Summer squashes have been used to treat colitis, constipation, hypertension, indigestion, kidney and bladder disorders, obesity, and ulcers. Though less nutrient dense than the denser more orange colored winter squashes (like acorn and butternut), summer squashes contain beta-carotene, folic acid, and vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Squash seeds called protease trypsin inhibitors that impede viruses and cancer causing compounds from becoming activated in the intestinal tract. The raw seeds are also used in folk medicine to rid the body of round and tapeworms.
Look for squash that is heavy for its size and blemish free. Storing them in plastic bags encourages spoilage. If left to grow, zucchini get as big as a baseball bat, and are about as tasty.
The flowers of all summer squashes are edible and can be stuffed with guacamole or other fillings. Scoop out the insides of summer squash and stuff with celery, chopped spinach and nuts. Use squash slices for dipping or as crudités. Try them sliced or grated into salads, made into pickles or pureed into soups and sauces. Using a tool called a Spirulizer, summer squashes can be shred into noodle like threads and used as low carbohydrate pasta. Various types of summer squashes can be substituted for one another in recipes.
Squash is an easy plant to grow in the garden. Squash corresponds to the Sun, the energy of Fire and spirituality. It has traditionally bee used to increase one's awareness of the unseen reality around us. It has long been a folkloric belief that squash seeds could increase fertility if planted close to the home.
Even serious lovers of Italian food will find this delicious. You will feel great after this meal!
2 yellow squash
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 2 hours
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cup pitted, sun-dried olives
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt
Slice the squash into long, thin noodles, or use a Spiralizer tool to "spiralize" it. Set aside. Combine the remaining in ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until well blended but still chunky. Toss the puree with the squash and serve. You do not need to cook the squash or sauce! Enjoy.
Makes 2-4 servings.
To find a Spirooli or Joyce Chen Spirulizer, check out: http://www.rawguru.com/store/raw-food/spirooli-spiral-3-in-1-slicer.html
What creative ways ideas do you have for this versatile vegetable?
Brigitte Mars, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, is a nutritional consultant who has been working with Natural Medicine for over forty years. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Hollyhock Retreat Center, Boulder College of Massage, and Bauman Holistic College of Nutrition and has a private practice. Brigitte is the author of twelve books, including The Sexual Herbal, The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Beauty by Nature, Addiction Free Naturally, Healing Herbal Teas, and Rawsome! Click here for more healthy living articles, raw food recipes, videos, workshops, books, and more at brigittemars.com.
Check out her international model yogini daughter, Rainbeau at www.rainbeaumars.com
Follow Brigitte Mars on Twitter: www.twitter.com/brigittemars