Diversions The greatest show in Canada a festival of delights!

Lights of the North, Canada’s Largest Lantern Light Festival takes over Red River Exhibition Park this September to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the sister city twinning between Winnipeg and Chengdu, China. Dorothy Dobbie


to spectacle. An amazing light show will take place on the pond of this 10-acre site. The show has been designed to celebrate

illions of LED lights will illuminate the nights for the next six weeks as dusk turns to dark in the days of

waning September sunlight. Lights of the North has arrived in Winni-

peg! It’s the first and largest show of its kind ever mounted in Canada. Open at 6:00 each evening, visitors will

start their tour walking through a 60-foot- long rainbow tunnel that will lead them to live arts and crafts demonstrations, where you can buy fascinating handcrafts and origami as well as have your portrait done on rice dough as you pose. Several other rainbow tunnels guide you from spectacle

Winnipeg, while saluting China, and there will be a large exhibit on China with an op- portunity to explore Chengdu. Evening performances by unbelievably tal-

ented acrobats and dancers who have come here all the way from China will entertain you until the lights begin to shine. There will be food stalls offering both Canadian and north- ern Chinese cuisine, cooked by an amazing award winning performing chef. (Watch the knives fly!) A beer garden will provide the adults with a place to rest weary feet as the kids enjoy Jurassic Park, Chinese style, and take a ride on a baby dinosaur or enjoy a tour through the dinosaur maze.

The light displays are magnificent. Giant

replicas of the Manitoba Legislature and the Human Rights Museum tower several stories high. The gorgeous Temple of Heaven required a 100-foot crane to top it off! A 200- foot- long dragon made entirely of 100,000 china plates, cups and saucers took two artisans, working furiously, to put together over a four-week period. A 12-foot polar bear, covered in 30,000 ping pong balls, will show off its inner glow, while an iconic bison whose skin will be made of thousands of tiny medi- cine vials will boggle the eye And the pandas are back – albeit in replica

form, but they commemorate their first visit to Winnipeg 29 years ago, when our town became the first city in Canada to host them and only the second in North America.

The wonders of winter squash I

By Tania Moffat

t’s a shame that more people don’t plant winter squash. They produce bountiful crops that can provide us healthy gar-

den fruit far into the winter months. Winter squashes are part of the genus Cucurbita, a family of herbaceous vines in the gourd, squash and pumpkin family. There are several varieties available to grow, and each has its attributes for the epicurious, but all make for fabulous and hearty meals. Why don’t people plant squash? Often it’s

because they lack the room in their gardens, have planted too many squash plants in years past or have no idea what to do with these healthy fruits. The secret is to grow them in moderation (one plant should do a family), and allow them to harden off properly which will allow you to keep them for several months (two to six) in the pantry. Most squashes have a mild sweet or nutty

flavour which makes them easy to incorporate in all kinds of dishes but best of all they are naturally low in fat and calories. Most are rich in several vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, B6, C, magnesium and potassium. Tips for growing squash

The beauty with squash is that you can

grow them easily from seed. Put two or three seeds in a low mounded seed hole. Once seed- lings develop, select the strongest and thin out the rest. Plants prefer full sunlight and well-drained soil but will tolerate light shade. If you lack space, try growing one of the

bush varieties versus the vining ones. One example of a bush variety is ‘Gold Nugget’ buttercup squash. If you do have space, many of the best tasting varieties of squash are vining but they require a four-by-six-foot

12 Centre News

space to grow. To avoid having it take over your garden, continuously cut back the vines as they reach outwards, making sure to keep those that are producing fruit. Remove any misshapen fruit or fruit that has started to rot to maintain the health of your plant. Trim- ming will allow the fruit that is growing to develop more fully. Winter squash develops a deeper skin

colour as it matures. The skin will get harder and should resist puncturing by fingernails when ripe. Winter squash are harvested when they are fully mature, unlike summer squash varieties. Squash will be one of the last crops harvested in the fall when the cold weather sets in. They should be cut from the vines with their stems attached. If the stems do come off, use these fruits first as they will be prone to rotting sooner than the others. You should cure your winter squash and

pumpkins to harden their shells completely before storing them. Curing is quite easy to do. Place squash in a warm area for a week or two at 24 C to 29 C, or put them in a root cellar with a small portable fan blowing directly on them 24 hours a day for a week to help harden off the skins. Once cured, squash are best kept in a cool, dry and dark spot with low humidity. Check them regularly for signs of mold or softening and remove the ones that are starting to turn. You can salvage those by cutting the skin and soft parts off, blanching and freezing the inside flesh. Tips for cooking squash

There are many fancy recipes on the In-

ternet that will provide you with a diverse range of uses for your winter squash, however, sometimes simple is best. Smaller squashes can be cut in half, seeded and baked in their skins. Add butter and some

All this happened as a result of the

twinning, in 1988, between Winnipeg and Chengdu, home of the giant panda in Sichuan province, China. Indeed, Lights of the North has been brought here by a group of private investors in part to help reignite the relation- ship between our sister city and Winnipeg. Lights of the North is the biggest celebra-

tion in the country of the 2018 Year of Canada China travel, an accord signed by Prime Min- ister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2016. From world-class acrobatic performances, authentic chinese art and cuisine, and plenty of interactive dinosaur displays,the festival will be exciting for peo- ple of all ages. And all this for $25, $20 on weekdays. It truly is a festival of delights!

brown sugar to the centre and enjoy eating it right out of the shell. You can also try using spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg and sub- stitute honey or maple syrup for sugar. Larger squashes are best peeled, cubed

and steamed or baked. They can be frozen in cubes or mashed, and used in a variety of recipes. Squash is excellent in pies, soups, cookies and baking. Spaghetti squash can be baked whole or

seeded and cut in half. Once the skin is fork tender, remove and cool the squash slightly. Remove any seeds and begin to pull away the flesh with a fork, fluffing it on a plate. You can use it as a substitute for pasta, or just add some parmesan, butter and salt and enjoy. Nine types of tasty winter squash

Acorn: Dark green or white skin covers

this acorn-shaped and ribbed squash. Its pale yellow flesh is mildly flavoured. Acorn is a smaller winter squash that should be eaten before it turns orange in colour which will make it more fibrous. Delicata: Delicata is a thin-skinned oblong

green and yellow striped squash. Its flesh is pale yellow and it resembles summer squash more than winter varieties. The delicata flesh is creamy and soft, and the skin can be eaten, however, as the skin is thinner it is more susceptible to rot. Sweet Dumpling Squash: This small squash

has a whitish-yellow and green exterior. It is large enough to serve one person and has a sweet flavour and edible skin. It’s unique colouring also make it a lovely fall ornament, just be sure to eat it after. Spaghetti: This is a mild tasting, yel-

low, stringy fleshed squash that is a perfect substitute for pasta. While it may look like every other squash raw, once cooked the

flesh breaks into string like fibers similar to spaghetti. Fruits are oblong and can be white, tan-coloured, yellow or orange. Turban: These are true beauties of the

squash world and named after their turban- like shape with a button on the end. A col- ourful squash with mottled colours of green, orange and white, turban squash makes a great fall decoration. It has mildly flavoured flesh that is adaptable to any squash recipe. The shell makes for an attractive bowl to serve fall soups or other fall delights. Most common varieties are “Turk’s turban” or “French turban.” Hubbard: Hubbards are large, bumpy,

oval-shaped squash, the most common is the blue hubbard which is an odd shade of gray- blue. Some varieties can get quite large. The sweet tasting flesh is dry yellow or orange. Kuri: This red hubbard has a similar lop-

sided look as all hubbard's do. It resembles a kabocha, but the circular bottom will confirm it is a hubbard, it may even develop a ridge, or turban, around a more noticeable bump. Kabocha: “Buttercup” is one of the most

popular varieties of kabocha right now and is readily available in grocery stores. It is easily recognizable from its squat green shape. The inside is sweet and dry with a nutty flavour; it is excellent for cooking. Red kabocha squash is sweeter than its green counterpart and has faint white stripes over its deep reddish- orange flesh. Butternut: This bottle-shaped, tan-

coloured squash is probably one of the most recognized of the winter squash. It has a sweet flavour and is used in many recipes. Cushaw squash: Also known as the winter

crookneck squash due to its curved top, it is easily substituted into any squash recipe.

Autumn 2018

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