Save the Skin

Keeping the skin on the squash was, until recently, something I never, ever did. Preparing squash without peeling did not occur to me until I helped prepare a three sisters soup in late August of this year. Since then, I have been experimenting with different squashes and how keeping their skin on affects the different dishes I’ve been serving.

There have been a few occasions when people close to me were nervous about serving squash with the skin on. They’d say things like, “I know keeping the skin on is good for you and all, but will folks want to eat it that way?” On each occasion where I’ve served bright orange squash with deep green skin, such as Sweet Mama or Buttercup squash, there has been a positive response from the diners.

Keeping the skin on also ensures minimal nutrients are lost and their benefits are passed on to you, much like when consuming potatoes this way. The skin is also a source of insoluble fibre, due to it being composed of cellulose that our bodies don’t have the enzymes to break down.

Out of the common squash found in markets and grocery stores, the only one I typically still peel is butternut squash. When it is young it is tender but becomes thicker and tougher as it grows and especially after a frost. Every variety is going to be slightly different in taste and texture. The worst that can happen is it will be a bit chewy when eating and may add a slight bitterness to your end product.

Recently, I’ve also been kindly asked for more soup recipes from many Six Nations community members. Most of the soups I make this time of year include squash as they are seasonal, locally abundant and delicious. This week’s recipe is for my friends at Meals on Wheels. Thank you for the delicious stew and scone you fed me at last week’s wild game dinner hosted in the Community Hall.

Bean Soup with Chicken and Squash

I’ve served a couple variations of this soup in recent weeks. Use the beans and flavouring as a base for endless variations. Use any kind of beans you like.


  • whole chicken
  • beans presoaked overnight
  • onions
  • garlic
  • ground cumin
  • chili powder
  • salt
  • acorn squash skin on a cut in chunks
  • fresh ground pepper


  1. In a soup pot cook onions in oil until translucent. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt.
  2. Cook for a few minutes more to lightly toast the spices.
  3. Add water to the pot in at least a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part beans.
  4. Add chicken to the pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender and chicken is cooked.
  6. Add acorn squash cut in small chunks and cook until done.
  7. Adjust seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper. If you want to thicken the soup, lightly mash the beans before adding the squash.
  8. Serve with boiled white cornbread and enjoy.

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