Butternut Squash

By EAT SMARTER
Updated on 23. Apr. 2020
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​Butternut squash is a classic fall ingredient. However its nutty flavor, abundant vitamins and low fat and calorie contents make it a healthful and delicious vegetable to eat year-round. 

butternut squash

Butternut squash...

  • ...is good for athletes. If you go to the gym regularly and eat a high-protein diet, you should try butternut squash. The body benefits from its high vitamin A content, which has a balancing effect on the metabolism.
  • ...supports healthy vision. The vitamin A and beta-carotene so abundantly present in butternut squash also ensures that our eyesight improves. The ability to see at night especially increases.
  • ...are good for your skin. The orange-colored flesh of the butternut squash contains a thick portion of beta-carotene. Even a mini portion of 125 grams covers the entire daily requiremenThe skin especially benefits, because the substance, also known as vitamin A, promotes healthy cell growth and prevents premature signs of aging.
  • ...can help you lose weight. Although the butternut squash is named for its buttery, tender flesh, it has nothing else in common with butter as its fat content is only 0.1 percent. Its large volume of satiating fiber counteracts a ravenous appetite and is therefore an ideal slimming food.
  • reduces water tension. Thanks to its high potassium content (about 300 milligrams per 100 grams), butternut squash slightly stimulates the function of kidneys and bladder, and at the same time naturally drains the body.
  • ...are low-carb. 100 grams of butternut squash contains only 8.3 grams of carbohydrates. This makes it an ideal vegetable for those who are watching their figure or considering their health.
  • ...are good for sensitive stomachs. The cooked flesh of butternut squash is so easily digestible that even people with sensitive intestines can enjoy it without regrets. Even babies can benefit!

What You Should Know About Butternut Squash

The butternut squash lives up to its name: Its delicate light orange flesh has an enchanting buttery aroma. The seeds are also edible and have a pleasant nutty taste. They can be nibbled raw or roasted briefly in a pan and lightly salted.

At first glance, the butternut squash can be recognized by its pear-like shape with a long neck and thick bottom. Its skin is light yellow and can be nubby or completely smooth. The butternut pumpkin has very few seeds. 

Origins

Originally, the butternut squash came from South America, typically growing on high vines in many other countries with warm climate. However, some are cultivated in greenhouses.

Seasonality

In the US, the main harvest time for butternut squash is in autumn through winter. But, you can buy the popular autumn vegetable is typically available all year round.

Flavor

The butternut squash has a delicious, buttery taste with a slightly nutty aroma and melts on the tongue.

Find all our butternut squash recipes here.

How Healthy Is Butternut Squash?

The tender, light orange-colored flesh of the fruit has a lot of beta-carotene content, which is good for the skin, hair and eyesight. In 100 grams of butternut squash, 80 percent of the daily needed beta-carotene is covered, as well as 20 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C.

Like all types of squash, the butternut squash is a real figure-flatterer: although it contains relatively more calories than its cousins, it contains hardly any fat. The seeds of the butternut squash are also particularly healthy because they contain a lot of fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, protein and many minerals.

The mild, buttery taste of the butternut squash is something that even young children like, and experts have no objection to kids, and even with babies, having butternut squash.

Butternut Squash Nutritional Info (100 g)  
Calories 45
Protein 1.1 g
Fat 0.1 g
Carbohydrates 8.3 g
Fiber 1.6 g


Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping

If you value aroma, it is best to choose a fully ripe butternut squash. When it is optimally ripe, its skin turns darker and the fruit is about 25 centimeters long. Whether the butternut squash has smooth or nubby skin is not important, but it should not have any cracks or other damage.

Storage

If you leave the stem on, a whole butternut squash will keep for several months if stored in a cool and dry place, for example in the cellar, pantry or vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Sliced butternut squash can be kept in cling wrap and stored in the refrigerator for three to four days. If you want to freeze the butternut squash, you have to blanch it in boiling salted water for one or two minutes, drain and let it cool down, and then freeze it in containers or well-sealed bags.

Preparation

A butternut squash, with its thick skin, is really a "hard nut" to crack. With a big and really sharp saw knife (for example a bread knife), you can easily open it. Just cut it once crosswise, then again lengthwise, into halves. Then, you can easily remove the seeds with a spoon. Next, cut off the stem generously and then gradually remove the skin from the flesh all around the stem. 

If you want to do this especially quickly, you can also grate the butternut squash — for example into creamy soups, purees, risotto or pumpkin pie — on the raw vegetable grater or in the food processor. It then cooks much faster.

What To Make With Butternut Squash

The autumn vegetable is extremely versatile. Its pulp tastes great in soups, such as a squash-carrot soup or a low-calorie squash-ginger soup. In addition to squash soup, the butternut squash can also be crushed to make a puree or marinade, or it can give a warm salad that certain something extra. 

Butternut squash tastes great baked: Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and lightly salt and pepper the flesh. Brush with olive oil, place on a baking tray with the cut surfaces facing down and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes.

Not in the mood to stand by the stove? No problem. Peeled, the butternut squash can also be eaten raw. Simply cut the flesh into wafer-thin slices to complement delicious salad recipes.

If you feel like experimenting, you can reach deep into the spice shelf when cooking recipes with butternut squash. The mild flesh tolerates strong flavors such as garlic, curry, chilli or fresh herbs.

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