Six-inch diameter pumpkin produced 1 cup of flour. (Mary Lowther photo)

Six-inch diameter pumpkin produced 1 cup of flour. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Got squash staring at you, threatening to go bad?

All winter squash contain an abundance of nutrients

By Mary Lowther

I have an Australian friend who was astonished that we Canadians don’t eat pumpkins “all the time, like we do,” she confided. Maybe that’s why she moved back home — she missed their cuisine.

Given how easy they are to grow, how versatile and healthy they are, and how well they keep, I understand her dismay. All winter squash contain an abundance of nutrients, including fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, although cooking destroys vitamin C and pantothenic acid. I wish David liked them more, because I can’t eat them fast enough. He tolerates a few grated bits in some soup, but pushes them aside when they resemble themselves.

I’ve made some delightful (I thought) breakfast dishes and spicy pumpkin soup that I’ve had to eat by myself, but there’s only one of me and many more pumpkins and other squash staring at me from storage. I’m not going to let my well grown, tasty vegetables rot. Besides, what would my granny have said if she’d known I’d let good food go to waste?

David loves baked, stuffed potatoes, especially when they contain bits of sausage, onions and cheese, so I added some cooked pumpkin to the mixture before I baked the potatoes and he never noticed. I’ll try adding some to regular mashed potatoes, call them “golden mashed potatoes” and see how that goes over. Maybe I’ll add a bit of garlic or dill.

But I’ve come across an even better way to use up the rest before the spring garden harvest blows everything else out of the water. They suggest dehydrating squash and grinding it into flour to add to regular flour for baking. I’ve tried two methods and both work fine.

In the first, once I removed the seeds, I grated the pumpkin, skin and all, in the food processor. Pumpkin skin is thin enough to do this. Then I spread the grated pumpkin on dehydrator sheets and dried it out. Finally, I pulverized it into flour in the blender.

I hacked the hard shelled squash in half, removed the seeds and cooked them. Then I scooped out the pulp and dehydrated and pulverized it as in the first method.

I mixed squash flour with gluten free flour (I have a wheat allergy) at the ratio of 1:3 and made a nice apple crisp with it. Maybe next I’ll make shortbread cookies and add some toasted pumpkin seeds or anise to the mix.

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.

gardening