Butternut squash, sometimes known in Australia and New Zealand as butternut pumpkin or gramma, is a type of winter squash that grows on a vine. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumkin. It has tan-yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp with a compartment of seeds in the bottom. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and potassium; and it is an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin E.
Although technically a fruit, butternut squash is used as a vegetable that can be roasted, sautéed, toasted, pureed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, breads, and muffins.
The most popular variety, the Waltham Butternut, originated in Waltham, Massachusetts, where it was developed at the Waltham Experiment Station by Robert E. Young. Dorothy Leggett claims that the Waltham Butternut squash was developed during the 1940s by her late husband, Charles Leggett, in Stow, Massachusetts, and then subsequently introduced by him to the researchers at the Waltham Field Station. She also claimed that name came from “smooth as butter, sweet as nut”.
One of the most common ways to prepare butternut squash is roasting. To do this, the squash is cut in half lengthwise (see pictures), lightly brushed with cooking oil or put in a thin layer of water and placed cut side down on a baking sheet. It is then baked for 45 minutes or until soft. Once roasted, it can be eaten in a variety of ways.
The fruit is prepared by removing the skin, stalk, and seeds, which are not usually eaten or cooked. However, the seeds are edible, either raw or roasted, and the skin is also edible and softens when roasted.
In Australia, it is regarded as a pumpkin, and is used interchangeably with other types of pumpkin.
In South Africa, butternut squash is commonly used and often prepared as a soup or grilled whole. Grilled butternut is typically seasoned with spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon or stuffed (e.g. spinach and feta) before being wrapped in foil and grilled. Grilled butternut is often served as a side dish to braais (barbecues) and the soup as a starter dish.
Check out these fun facts about Butternut Squash!
Botanically, it belongs to theCucurbitaceae family of field pumpkins.
Butternut squash seeds can be eaten as a nutritious snack food, just like pumpkin seeds.
Butternut squash is composed of many vital poly-phenolic anti-oxidants and vitamins. As with other squash, it is very low in calories; one serving is just 45 calories!
It has more Vitamin A than that of a pumpkin. One butternut squash generally contains 354% of your daily need for Vitamin A!
Butternut squash is a natural antioxidant and is great for skin health and eyesight health!
It’s unique flavor can be used in both savory as well as sweet dishes. It can be used in variety of delicious recipes as baked, stuffed, or stew-fried. (However, nutritionally it is eaten best by steam cooking in order to get maximum nutrients.