Butternut Squash is a vine growing gourd sometimes referred to as a butternut pumpkin (likely because of it’s similar taste). Comparative to pumpkins, they’re much smaller and their difference in shape yields more flesh. They’re typically known as a winter squash variety, although here in Hawai’i the butternut squash grows well in many seasons.
Though often considered and treated as a vegetable, butternut squash is actually a fruit! The common confusion may be a result of it’s versatility in cooking. These squash are great roasted, sautéed, toasted, puréed for soup, and mashed for casseroles, just like other hearty vegetable favorites. As they ripen, they grow deeper orange in color, and sweeter and richer in flavor. It’s flesh is full of vitamin A, C and E, and it’s seeds a great source of protein and heart-healthy fats. It’s also a fiber, magnesium, and potassium as well.
There are so many ways to enjoy butternut squash. It is equally delicious as a savory dish or sweet treat. The fruit is prepared by removing the skin, stalk, and seeds. However, the seeds are edible, either raw or roasted, and the skin is also edible and softens when roasted. One of the most common ways to prepare butternut squash is roasting. To do this, the squash is cut in half lengthwise, lightly brushed with cooking oil, and placed cut side down on a baking sheet. It is then baked for 45 minutes or until it is softened. Once roasted, it can be eaten in a variety of ways.
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