Friday, September 22, 2006

Fall Squash: a gluten free treat!

If there is one thing this gluten free blog writer loves this time of year, it is the seasonal squash. Pictured above is a beautiful Carnival (or perhaps some may call it a Sweet Dumpling) Squash specimen we just picked up here in Ohio, about an hour South of us, in Amish country (Holmes County to be exact).

I really love these particular squash, since in addition to being gluten free (as any squash), they have a rather mellow taste and are quite simple to prepare. Squash are generally a good source of fiber, beta carotene, potassium, and other nutrients too. So, it is a win-win for me!

To prepare one of these gluten free wonders, we simply wash it off well, cut the squash in half, dig out the seeds, place each half cut-side-down onto a plate with a bit of water on it, and then microwave it until the center pulp is sufficiently cooked (in our old microwave, this takes about 18 minutes). We serve these with just a bit of brown sugar. Oh are they just delicious!

The Carnival variety is especially nice due to it's more subtle flavor and rich buttery texture. It is definitely a less strong-tasting fruit than an Acorn Squash or Butternut (both of which are still quite wonderful), which makes it easier to convince children to give it a try. With gluten free diets, this is an important thing -- having nutritious options that people will eat.

Some other favorite varieties we look for this time of year include Turbin, Acorn, Butternut, and of course Pumpkin! Pumpkin is of course most popular served in pie filling - most excellent!

Throughout the year, we enjoy Spaghetti Squash too (another great gluten free alternative to real spaghetti!) - since you can dig out the stringy, spaghetti-like pulp and serve it with spaghetti sauce or pesto. Zucchini is also a nice one to just slice up into stir-fry along with yellow squash (great for colorful dishes), or to make into some wonderful casseroles.

Here's hoping that wherever you are, you have access to some of these wonderful gluten free food options!


Lynn Barry said...

I have not tried the Carnival variety. I will now. I have an acorn squash on my counter and will try it the microwave way today. I usually bake them for forever.

Thanks Mike!

Lynn Barry said...

Just wanted you to know the squash was yummy. I did not have brown sugar on hand so I mixed sugar and molasses together and made my own. Thanks.