Butternut Squash: Everything You Need To Know

Updated on 27. Dec. 2018
The Butternut Squash is Popular in Winter!
The Butternut Squash is Popular in Winter!

Funny shape, delicious content - this is what distinguishes butternut squash and makes it more popular with us. EAT SMARTER gives you all the best things to do with butternut squash and reveals what makes it so good for you.

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What You Should Know

Its name says it all. Fans of butternut squash have long known that its delicate pale orange flesh has a delicious buttery, nutty flavor that melts in your mouth. By the way, the seeds are edible and taste pleasantly nutty! You can snack on them raw or briefly sautée them in a frying pan with a little salt.

Practical: You don’t have to buy a ginormous pumpkin if you want butternut squash. Butternut squash comes in surprisingly small varieties.

Season: The main harvest time for butternut squash is in the fall. However, if you want, you can buy it all year round - imports come from from Uruguay, Argentina and South Africa.

Origin: Originally the butternut squash is from South America. It grows in high vines in many other countries that have warm climates, partially in large greenhouses.

Special Features: What you will notice at first glance is its pear-like shape with a long neck and a thick bottom that has earned it its second name “pear pumpkin.” The squash’s shell is bright yellow and can be both studded and very smooth. It has very few seeds, which make preparing it especially easy.

How healthy is butternut squash?

The delicate, light orange pulp has an especially high content of beta-carotene, which is great for the skin, hair and eyesight. In only 100 g/ 3.5 oz. of butternut squash you get 80% of the daily requirement of beta-carotene and 20% of the daily amount of vitamin C. As with all types of squash, the butternut squash is great for your figure. Although it contains a ​​relatively high amount of calories compared to its cousins, it hardly contains any fat. Particularly healthy are the seeds of butternut squash: They contain plenty of fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, protein and many minerals.

Nutritional value for butternut squash per 100 grams/ 3.5 oz.
Calories 45
Protein 1.1g / 0.04 oz.
Fat 0.1g / 0.004 oz.
Carbohydrates 8.3 g / 0.3 oz.
Dietary Fiber 1.6g / 0.06 oz.

Butternut squash: for the whole family

Babies also like the mild, buttery flavor of butternut squash. That's okay because experts have nothing against babies eating butternut squash as their first solid food.

Shopping and cooking tips:

Shopping: If you're looking the full aroma it is best to select fully ripe butternut squash. Pay attention to color and size: At optimum ripeness the butternut squash is slightly darker. Whether the butternut squash has a smooth or dimpled skin is not critical but it should not have cracks or other damage.

Storage: Don’t cut off the stem! Store the whole butternut squash in a cool, dry place (for example in the basement, pantry or vegetable drawer of the refrigerator). They can be stored for a couple months. Already cut butternut squash can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Freezing it is also possible. For diced butternut squash, blanch for 1-2 minutes in boiling salted water, drain and let cool. Then freeze in well-sealed bags or cans.

Preparation: Butternut squash is very hard, so you will need to crack it with a sharp serrated knife, or bread knife. Then you can easily remove the seeds with a spoon. Then remove the stem and cut the flesh away from the skin. Sound complicated? After removing the seeds, cut the flesh into cubes. Depending on the recipe you can also simply cut the squash into slices.

EAT SMARTER recommendations for butternut squash:

If you are short on time you can grate butternut squash in a food grater or in a food processor. This significantly decreases cooking times and is great for recipes like soups, risottos or pumpkin pies.

Recipe Ideas: Butternut squash is rightly regarded as universal because it is extremely versatile. Its flesh is great for soups like our pumpkin-carrot soup, the extra-low-calorie pumpkin and ginger soup or a noble pumpkin shrimp soup. Butternut squash can also be made into a purée or added into a warm salad with chickpeas. For our recipe for roasted pumpkin slices you can also take butternut squash instead of Hokkaido pumpkin. Always true: Butternut squash can be used instead of any other type of squash.

Cooking: Squash is extremely delicious when baked. Cut the squash lengthwise, take out the seeds and add a little salt and pepper. Sprinkle with olive oil and put butternut squash on a baking sheet. Bake it for 25-30 minutes are 180 Celsius / 350 Fahrenheit.

Seasoning: If you want to experiment you can add pretty much any spice. The mild flesh goes great with strong flavors such as garlic, curry, chili or fresh herbs.

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