Honestly said readers’ question this week really impressed me because squash is perhaps my favorite food and one of the reasons to love autumn. As the golden season comes, I start to dream about baked squash with honey and walnuts which fills the air with sweet aroma in the whole house – something like Elin Pelin’s character Dushko Dobrodushkov.

Being a real temptation for my senses and the fact squash is very useful makes me consume it without restrictions and remorse. It mottles the abundant autumn market with exotic shapes and color no matter the controversy whether it is a fruit or a vegetable and clearly reminds us of the approaching winter.

From botanic point of view, squash belongs to the group of the so called fruit vegetables, because it is grown for its fruit. As in most of cultivated plants in this orange colored fruit there is great variety in color, shape and size.

baked squash with honey and walnuts

The nutritional value of squash is quite close to that of potatoes. There are few proteins and fats in the mature qualitative sorts and up to 10% of sugars (saccharose and glucose mainly). The rest 90% is water. Cellulose is around 1% and almost no acids are presented. The prevalent mineral salts are potassium and phosphorus, but also calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, cobalt and sodium. There is high concentration of vitamin C -15 mg per 100 g, carotene – 2 mg, vitamins B1, B2 and PP. The more orange or bright yellow is the fleshy part of the squash, the higher is the content of carotene in it. The so called muscat squashes have more carotene even than carrots. Potassium salts in comparison to sodium ones are in a ratio 675 to 1, thus making this fruit quite useful in renal and cardiovascular diseases, which are characterized with edema. It is very helpful in gastrointestinal disorders because of its low acidity and soft cellulose. Squash is used in diets as it has mild laxative effect and is a powerful diuretic. Pectin is also in large amounts which eases large intestine cleaning and lowers cholesterol levels. Squashes are very useful in the recovery of organism from serious diseases.

It is recommended in obese and diabetics because of its low calories (17 calories per 100 g) as the latter should restrict its use for its sugar content. They can take 500 g steamed or 300 g baked squash daily.


Squash juice is unknown and rarely consumed at our everyday table but has a place in the treatment of gastritis and increased gastric acidity. It is believed it helps beat insomnia – one glass freshly squeezed juice or a decoction of squash with one tablespoon honey is taken before going to bed. There are plenty of culinary variants to consume the autumn fruit – you can experiment with cream soups, flan, muffins and cakes, fresh juices and so on.

Baked squash is more wholesome and superior to steamed squash in health benefits as in the latter most of the useful nutrients go in the water. It is most dietary not to be further sweetened, but if you want to add some sweet, use honey or dry fruits which release sweet juices and aromas.

If you store squash in the fridge it should be peeled, cut to pieces and wrapped in foil in order not to oxidize and to lose its vitamins. A whole squash can last weeks at room temperatures and months in colder and dark places.


Squash seeds are extremely healthy as well. It is believed people in the Balkans suffer less from prostate adenoma because they consume these seeds. There are proteins, healthy fats and resinous substances in them. Seeds are also useful for people with chronic liver inflammations, gastritis, colitis with constipation, anemia, obesity, arterial hypertension, osteoporosis.

The World Health Organization recommends the consumption of these seeds as natural way for zinc delivery. This microelement important for the brain function is concentrated mainly in the endosperm of the seed right beneath the shell. That is why it is better to buy them unpeeled. Whole roasted squash seeds without shells contain around 10 g of zinc per 100 g and peeled – 7-8 g/100g.

Baking time should be no more than 15-20 min because after that time changes in the otherwise healthy fats occur. Consumption of raw seeds soaked in advance for 6 hours in water in order to eliminate the enzyme inhibitors is the healthiest. Their life-giving force is stimulated in this way and the valuable ingredients are much more easily absorbed.

So take one squash and use all of its parts…Cutting and peeling it is equivalent to me as titanic battle with unclear winner but all is well when it ends with hot steaming baked squash.

Here’s my favorite recipe:

Baked super squash




raw peeled squash seeds,


goji berry


cow butter




Wash and cut the squash. Put it in a pan and pour some water. In a separate dish mix walnuts, squash seeds, goji berry, manuka, spices, honey, and melted cow butter (no more than 60-70 g). Scramble the stuffing and cover each piece of squash with it. Preheat the oven to 180oC and bake until ready (around 40 min). Pour with the sauce which is formed during the baking from time to time. Serve the squash sprinkled with crushed raw cocoa beans. Enjoy!