Calabaza squash is found in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. Also known as ayote and West Indian pumpkin, the calabaza squash makes a good soup or pie and a healthy addition to any stew.
It is a creeping, annual tropical vine with large lobed leaves and branching tendrils; the flesh of the fruit is bright orange.
The flowers are yellow and pollination is done by bees. A 1-cup serving of the vegetable contains just 35 calories.
If you eat 2,000 calories a day, one serving meets less than 2 percent of your daily calorie needs. As a low-calorie food, you can eat a large portion and still not use up many of your calories.
People get full on the volume of food they eat, not the number of calories. So eating more low-calorie foods like the calabaza squash satisfies hunger and might help you keep your calories under control.
It is loaded with vitamins B1 and C, folic acid, fiber, and potassium. It has many health-promoting benefits and is proven effective against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, birth defects, and all cancers particularly those in the lungs. It is one of the very low calorie vegetables.
100 g fruit provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, it is rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins.
The vegetable is one of the food items recommended by dieticians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
Pumpkins are readily available in the market year around. Buy well grown whole pumpkin instead of sections.
Look for mature product that features fine woody note on tapping, heavy in hand and dry, stout stem. Avoid the one with wrinkled surface, cuts and bruises.
Pumpkin can be used in variety of delicious recipes either baked, stew- fried; however, eaten best by steam cooking in order to get maximum nutrients. In China, the leaves of this plant are consumed as cooked greens or in soups.