Winter produce is coming…and we can’t stop thinking about all the culinary magic that is about to happen in our kitchen. Even though we miss the warmth of summer and the squash varieties that came with it, we can now look forward to winter squash instead. One of the most delicious winter squash varieties is the kabocha squash, also known as the Japanese pumpkin, which is an unassuming gem that is often neglected in most grocery stores.
What Is Kabocha Squash?
Widely used in Japanese and Korean cooking, kabocha squash has a sweet buttery flavor and a velvety smooth texture. It’s almost like a cross between pumpkin and sweet potatoes, and it’s got the beta-carotene to prove it. In fact, one serving of kabocha squash satisfies 70 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A. So don’t let the green and bumpy exterior intimidate you or scare you away from cooking with it!
How To Prepare Kabocha?
While it is classically battered and fried in Japanese cuisine, kabocha squash is great when roasted, steamed and then pureed into a soup, roasted and then mashed, or simmered in a curry. Some people even cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and bake the halves in the oven until they are beautifully tender. How you prepare it is entirely up to you, but we encourage you to experiment with it. It’s in season, after all. Read more about kabocha squash’s benefits below.
A Dieter’s Delight:
While kabocha may fall in butternut squash’s shadow, it has fewer calories per cup (40 calories) than butternut squash (60 calories). Kabocha contains fewer than half the amount of carbs of butternut squash (7 grams vs. 16 grams), and it is rich in dietary fiber, which works to help you feel full between meals. As we mentioned earlier, eating this squash will help you increase your beta-carotene intake, which benefits white blood cells, eyesight, the hair, and more.
According to a study that was published by Dr. Abdulla A. Alghasham in the International Journal of Health Sciences, certain squash varieties contain a unique antioxidant known as cucurbitacin. Research indicates that it can inhibit cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis, and that it can slow the progression of cancer in the body. These preliminary studies are positive, but more research needs to be done to support these initial findings.
Great For The Skin:
Due to the beta-carotene content, kabocha squash is an excellent food for your skin. Studies show that regularly consuming beta-carotene can reduce acne scars and blemishes, improving overall skin complexion. The antioxidants also work to fight oxidative stress in the skin, reducing inflammation that can cause wrinkles or dark spots, commonly associated with aging.
Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels:
The high fiber and low carb nature of kabocha squash places it low on the glycemic index scale, meaning that blood sugar levels won’t spike after consuming it. People with low blood sugar levels can avoid symptoms like hunger or fatigue by keeping blood sugar levels constant with kabocha squash. Those with type 2 diabetes are encouraged to eat kabocha squash, and one study even found that administering kabocha powder to critically ill type 2 diabetics lowered blood sugar levels in three days.