Butternut Squash: The 411
Hey VegiFam! We hope you’re staying masked-up and healthy as we move into fall!
One of our very favorite fall veggies is **drumroll please** the butternut squash! They’re inexpensive, seasonal, and can be used in a TON of different ways. We’re going to give you the complete deal on butternut squash: how to store it, how to use it, all its health benefits, and our favorite recipes.
Health Benefits of Butternut Squash:
Butternut squash doesn’t just look pretty: it’s chock full of vitamins and minerals that keep you healthy! Among its many benefits, it’s full of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which helps support immune function. This is really important, especially now that we're moving into flu season. It also nourishes your body with vitamin A, which also supports immune function in addition to keeping your bones and eyes healthy. If you’re expecting a baby, butternut squash can provide lots of extra nutrients for fetal development, which makes it an extra nutritious addition to your dinner plate, for both you and your baby.
On top of all these health benefits, butternut squash can actually keep you hydrated. It’s 87% water, which helps keep your body full of water. It’s also a fibrous food, which helps regulate digestion.
Peeling a Butternut Squash:
This might seem intuitive, but it’s harder to peel a butternut squash than it looks. This is because the rounded indents make it difficult for a traditional peeler to get in the edges. Plus, many peelers aren’t strong enough to get under the thick skin of the squash. The easiest way to peel a squash is to use a knife. First, cut the squash in half. Make sure to cut the base of the squash so that your squash can stand flat. Then, slice around the base with a sharp knife, creating an octagon shape around the large end of the squash. Cup the top off of the squash to make the other end flat, then do the same thing with the smaller end of the squash. This video does an excellent job of demonstrating the peeling process:
Storing Butternut Squash:
If your butternut squash is whole, keep it in a cool dark place. It’ll actually last two or three months if left like this! If you dice up too much for a recipe, you can choose to keep your squash in the fridge for up to four days. However, a better choice is to freeze the leftover squash, which will last months! Simply spread your squash out on a cookie sheet and freeze it. Then, remove the cookie sheet from the freezer and remove the individual squash pieces from the tray to put them in a bag. This prevents all your squash pieces from freezing to each other and becoming one large lump.
Using the Insides of a Butternut Squash:
The seeds that are on the inside of a butternut squash are just as tasty roasted up as pumpkin seeds! What says fall more than sitting by a fire and munching on some seeds? Simply separate the seeds from the pulp of the butternut squash, then rinse them and roast them. You can add your own seasonings -- cinnamon sugar or just plain salt taste amazing.
As for the pulp, you can puree it along with the meat of your squash if you’re making soup. You can also blend it into a puree for juices, breads, pies, and other flavorings. Especially with pumpkin pie spices, butternut squash is a great substitute for pumpkin, and that pulp would be an excellent addition to fall-themed desserts.
Butternut squash soup is a classic that we go back to time and time again. This recipe can easily be made vegan by subbing vegan butter for regular:
If you’re looking for something a little heartier, butternut squash makes an excellent vegan substitute for creamy cheese in a mac-and-cheese dish. This pasta dish will definitely make its way onto our fall menu:
Do you have a favorite recipe for butternut squash? Comment below to let us know!