Calabaza bellota/Acorn Squash/ Cucurbita Pepo

Acorn squash are indigenous to the western hemisphere, so they were not known to Europeans until after the voyages of Columbus.  The seeds have been found in ancient Mexican archeological digs dating back to somewhere between 9,000 and 4,000 B.C. Squash is a nutritious food and it (winter squash) forms an important part of the Native American diet. Squash belongs to Cucurbitaceae family and the botanical name of acorn squash is Cucurbita Pepo. The squash was initially considered a melon by the Europeans settlers in America. Though considered a vegetable in cooking, botanically speaking, squash is a fruit (being the receptacle for the plant’s seeds), and not a vegetable. Like all varieties of winter squash, the popular acorn squash is rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, B vitamins, and numerous minerals. And acorn squash is particularly high in fiber, which plays an important role in intestinal health.

Cucurbita Pepo is an annual plant, hispid and scabrous, with a procumbent stem and branching tendrils. Its leaves are large, cordate, palmately 5-lobed, or angled and denticulate. The flowers are yellow large, axillary, and the males long-pedunculate. Corolla campanulate; the petals united and coherent with the calyx. The calyx of the male flowers is 5-toothed; of the female the same, the upper part being deciduous after flowering; the stigmas are 3, thick, and 2-lobed; the pepo, or fruit, subligneous, very large, roundish, or oblong, smooth, yellow when ripe, furrowed and torulose, containing yellowish seeds, somewhat resembling those of the watermelon in form.

The seeds are “about 2 Cm. (4/5 inch) long, broadly-ovate, flat, white or whitish, nearly smooth, with a shallow groove parallel to the edge; containing a short, conical radicle, and 2 flat cotyledons; inodorous; taste bland and oily. The pumpkin flowers in July, and matures its fruit in September and October. It is extensively cultivated as a kitchen vegetable, and for cattle. The seeds of this plant are used in medicine, and have long been popular with the Mayans as a remedy for worms.

Maya holistic therapist, Maria Hux, learned this ancient Mayan recipe from her ancestors; based on roasted baby acorn squash seeds, Sikil Pac was a Royal treat among the Mayan. Hard working people find this appetizer to be a great way to boost the immune system. Sikil Pac helps fight the cell damage caused by extreme stress and emotional pressure.  This Mayan recipe truly works great as a gourmet appetizer and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Gingered Pumpkin Custard

¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 can( 15 ounces) solid- pack pumpkin
1 ¼ cups half-half
2-3 teaspoons ground ginger
sweetened whipped cream for decorating (optional)
sprinkles for decorating (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F grease 1 ½ quart casserole or 8-inch glass baking dish. Variation: for individual servings, pour custard mixture into 6 or 8 ramekins or custard cups. Place on a baking sheet. bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in medium bowl; mix well. Add pumpkin and half-and-half, mix until well blended. Pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle ginger evenly over top of pumpkin mixture.

Bake 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. cool in wire rack at least 20 minutes before serving. serve warm or at room temperature. garnish with whipped cream and sprinkles.

Sikil Pac
*Maria Hux*

1/4 lb. of peeled organic, Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds
(you may substitute for any other squash seeds, if fresh, wash and roast 5 minutes, peel).
Three ripe organic limes (juice)
One petit red onion, peeled and chopped
Two large vine-ripened red tomatoes
1/4 cup of chopped organic cilantro leaves
Half small ripe Habanero chile (optional, cut amount for mild salsa)
Pinch of crushed sea salt.

Crush the roasted seeds into a fine paste.  Mince tomato, chile (your choice), and red onion. Finely chop the cilantro leaves. Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients above with the lime juice in a clay bowl (glass will do) until it forms a smooth creamy paste.  Add sea salt to taste.  Let stand for 15 minutes to blend flavors; serve at room temperature as a healthy zesty topping to handmade corn tortillas, fried tortilla chips, or fresh celery sticks. If you not find Habanero chile in your area, use fresh serrano or jalapeño chile as a substitute.  

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About zoom50

“It’s amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease”
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2 Responses to Calabaza bellota/Acorn Squash/ Cucurbita Pepo

  1. kimkiminy says:

    Oooh, the sikil pak sounds delicious. Where do you find all of these exotic ingredients?

  2. zoom50 says:

    All the small latin markets should have them, or you can find it in most ethnic stores in the big cities.

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