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Baby Butternut Squash

Butternut is One of My Favorite Winter Squashes

Butternut squash soup and baked

Baked butternut squash and squash soup

I am a big fan of all types of squash, both summer and winter varieties. You may be wondering what the difference is between these vegetable groups which are part of the curcurbit family.  It really doesn’t have anything to do with the season, but rather when they are harvested.  Summer squash is harvested when immature, has a thin edible skin and a short shelf life.  Winter squash is harvested when mature, has a thick rind and can be safely stored for many months.

Butternut squash is a popular variety of winter squash noted for its sweet, nutty taste, similar to pumpkin.  It has an impressive nutrition profile containing several nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium as well as phytochemicals (natural plant chemicals) to support good health.  Butternut squash provides 582 milligrams of potassium in one serving which is even better than the 422 milligrams found in a medium banana.

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash in the Field

Choose squash that is heavy for its size.  It can be stored uncut for up to one month in a cool, dark place.  Once cut, it must be refrigerated. It is very easy to prepare and can be used in place of pumpkin.  By itself, it can be baked, boiled, or roasted for a side dish or added to hot dishes or cold salads.  Consider adding cooked squash to vegetable soups, stews, curries, and casseroles.  Jazz up a simple dinner menu with butternut squash soup.  A natural accompaniment to cut or mashed sweet potatoes, you can enhance the flavor by adding apples, cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg.

Looking to try butternut squash for the first time?
Try the recipe below.

Butternut Squash and Black Beans                                       Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash (small, about one pound)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cans black beans (16 ounces, rinsed and drained)
  • ½ teaspoon oregano

Directions:

  1. Wash the squash under cool tap water and pat dry. Use a knife to pierce several holes in the squash to allow the steam to escape.  Heat in the microwave on high for one to two minutes to soften the skin.
  2. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler or knife.
  3. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
  4. In a large pan heat the oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic powder, and squash
  5. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
  6. Add vinegar and water.  Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes until the squash is tender.
  7. Add the beans and oregano.  Cook until the beans are heated through.


Nutrition Information per serving:

232 calories, 13 g protein, 44 g carbohydrate, 1g fat, 291 milligrams sodium,
14 g fiber, 883 mg potassium.
Source: USDA What’s Cooking Recipes

Nutritional Value Butternut Squash
1 cup cubed, baked

Calories               82
Protein                 2 g.
Fat                     0 g.
Carb                   22 g.
Fiber                   7 g.
Potassium             582 mg.
Sodium                  8 mg.
Vitamin A, RAE       1144 mcg.
Vitamin C              31 mg.

Source: USDA Nutrient Database