There are so many different ways to eat squash. You can turn it into fries, devour it as a low-carb spaghetti, transform it into healthy vegan doughnuts (yes, seriously)…you name it. But if you’re only eating the inside, you’re seriously missing out: It turns out the entire squash—skin and all!—is totally edible. And that includes pumpkins, so think twice before tossing your decorative jack-o’-lantern.
It might seem strange to eat the skin of a squash after going, oh, your entire life without even realizing doing so is a possibility. But if you rethink the norm, you’ll be able to take in some pretty impressive health benefits beyond what’s just in the fleshy pulp. “The entire squash is an edible vegetable. In fact, most veggies are meant to be eaten as a whole, despite what we may have been taught growing up,” New York City–based nutritionist Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, tells me. “The entire squash, flesh and skin included, has myriad health benefits ranging from fiber to vitamin A, C, and E. Squash is especially high in vitamin A, which can help support good eye health, may protect your vision and has anti-cancer effects as well.” Squash is also relatively low on the glycemic index scale, which means you can enjoy it without it wreaking havoc on your glucose and insulin levels.
The entire squash is an edible vegetable. In fact, most veggies are meant to be eaten as a whole, despite what we may have been taught growing up.” —Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD
So, how do you go about eating it, skin and all? Start with a super-thorough cleansing. “Clean and wash the skin like your life depends on it. The vegetable skin is where potential pollutants may be lurking, so rinse and wash it well with an acid—such as apple cider vinegar—to remove the toxins,” she says.
Then before cooking it, go crazy with some of your go-to pantry staples to ensure it tastes good. Especially since if you don’t, it might be too tough to eat—literally. Like, you won’t be able to chew it. “Rub the squash skin generously with olive oil, Himalayan pink sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric for some warm aromatic flavors and anti-inflammatory benefits,” Lockwood Beckerman says. And her cooking method of choice? Essentially turning them into healthy potato chips: “Cook the skin in the oven until it becomes crispy and dried out,” she says.
So the next time you make squash, enjoy the whole shebang by turning the skin into a hearty snack. Who knows? With a little added oil and seasoning, it might just become your favorite part.
Turkey who? Get ready for glazed butternut squash to steal the Thanksgiving show. Or, get the deets on Costco’s pre-prepped spaghetti squash for easy weeknight dinners.
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