Butternut squash might just be one of Autumn’s most versatile fruits, yes fruit.
It is one of the most popular squashes with a mild, but sweet flavor and smooth-textured flesh.
There are so many delicious ways to use this hard-shell squash, from soups and salads to lasagna and pizza.
Fruit or Vegetable
Technically, butternut squash is a fruit as its seeds are inside the squash.
This is true of all members of the gourd family, which includes winter squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, and melons.
A Prebiotic Food
Butternut squash is high in fiber and is a prebiotic food that supports healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.
A prebiotic food is not to be confused with a probiotic food.
Prebiotic was first brought to light by scientists in 1995, and described as “a non-digestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host (human being) by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, and thus improves host (human) health”.
Prebiotics foods are fermented by the beneficial bacteria in the gut and used as a source of fuel to help enhance gut flora health.
Nutritional Profile of Butternut Squash
One cup of cubed, raw butternut squash typically has 63 calories, 1.4g of protein, 0.1g of fat, 16.4g of carbohydrates, 2.8g of fiber, and 3.1g of sugar.
Butternut squash packs plenty of vitamins A and C, and including Calcium – Magnesium – Phosphorus – Potassium – Zinc – Copper and Manganese.
All these minerals and vitamins are needed to maintain healthy skin, hair and eyes.
Its potassium content helps maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Selecting Your Squash
Look for squash with minimal bruising and no obvious cuts or oozy areas. The squash should feel heavy for its size.
During the Autumn months, squash can sometimes be found at farm stands, farmers’ markets, or “U-Pick” pumpkin and gourd farms.
Purchasing at these locations can help you get a squash with maximum flavor.
Storing Your Squash
If you plan on eating the squash soon, you can keep it on your countertop for up to a week.
For longer storage, keep it in a cool, dark place such as a cold storage room. A properly stored squash can last for weeks or even months.
Diced raw butternut squash can be refrigerated for two to three days.
Once cooked, the squash will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
In conclusion, to enjoy butternut squash, cook it by roasting, baking or microwaving the squash, then enjoy as a side dish. Try one or more of the butternut squash recipes featured in this article.