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   The main difference between summer and winter squash is the stage of maturity at which it’s harvested. Summer varieties are harvested while immature and tender, whereas the winter varieties are allowed to harden. Choose winter squash that have dull, hard rinds. Available now through March, winter squash can last anywhere from one week to six months, depending on the type. Refrigeration is only recommended once the squash is cut; otherwise the humidity will cause deterioration. Summer squash is available year-round.
Eating squash regularly has many health benefits. Here are a few examples: yellow squash can reduce the risk of heart disease; summer squash is fat free, low in calories, and also has a high content of antioxidants and beta-carotene to help provide protection against cancer; eating squash can also keep your bones healthy and promotes good colon and prostate health.
   For a tasty and nutritious treat, try this recipe for squash seeds. Remove the seeds from a winter squash (pumpkins or butternut). Rinse them with water and remove strings and squash remnants. Pat dry and place one cup of seeds in a small bowl. Stir in one tablespoon of olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste), until evenly coated. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the seeds start to pop. Remove from oven and cool before serving. Enjoy!



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