Butternut squash is a summer and winter squash, and has an orange flesh that is sweet and tastes a little like sweet potatoes. Like all squash, butternut squash is a warm weather crop and needs a long, hot summer.
There are several varieties of butternut squash. The first ones to harvest are the Early Butternut, Ponca and Supreme. The Ultra bears fruit with the most weight, between 6 and 10 pounds. The Zenith variety has attractive fruit and high yields.
There are several different ways to make soup with butternut squash, including the variety of spices and herbs used. Such as garlic, parsley, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, chives, including kale leaves, leeks, and jalapeno chilies.
Butternut squash can store for longer periods of time than their summer squash counter parts. Why? Because their skin is hard and thick. After purchasing it, you can store it at least a month in a dry, cool place. If the squash has been cut into pieces, place into a glass or food grade ceramic bowl, place lid and refrigerate up to 5 days.
The Benefits of Butternut Squash
One cup of mashed squash contains 80 calories, 2 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrates, with the B-complex group of vitamins folate, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid. It also contains vitamins A and C and the minerals iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
There is a correlation between eating foods high in the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin like butternut squash, and a reduced rick of lung cancer.
Folate can protect against birth defects, and also helps to prevent a heart attack by working against elements that break down blood vessel structures in the body. Folate intake has shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Options To Prepare Butternut Squash
There are several ways to prepare butternut squash. Our favorite ways to prepare it, and still contain the highest nutritional value are:
- Stir-Fry: tender when pierced
- Bake: 400 degrees, uncovered 30 – 40 minutes
- Steam: Cube and steam for 6 – 8 minutes
- Roast: 400 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes
We advise against boiling the squash or microwaving it. With both methods, you will lose its nutritional value.
Now for our featured recipe: Coconut and Butternut Squash Soup, and here is what you will need.
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups chicken broth, divided
1-15 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1 stalk celery, diced
1-15 oz. can pumpkin puree
½ butternut squash (about 2 ½ cups) peeled, discard seeds and sliced up
1 tsp. Fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt (optional)
Bake butternut squash, 30 minutes or until tender. Let cool.
In a food processor place 1 cup chicken broth and the baked butternut squash. Puree until creamy, and set aside.
Place a medium stock pot over medium heat, and add 2 cups of chicken stock. Do not bring to a boil, just allow to heat. In a large skillet over medium heat, when pan is heated add 3 tbsp. olive oil, and add chopped onions, minced garlic, and sauté, but do not brown or carmelize. Just allow to cook and the two sock up or retain olive oil flavor.
Pour sauted onion mix with olive oil into stock pot that contains the warmed chicken broth. Take the last cup of chicken broth, and with one hand pour into frying pan while holding it by the handle with other hand, and swirl frying pan gently, and add to stock pot. Next add coconut milk to broth and stir until incorporated. Then add the diced celery to broth and stir.
Spoon in pumpkin and butternut squashes, mix till well incorporated. Next add ginger and stir in. If desired, add salt. Allow to simmer on low for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Served garnish with a dollop of sour cream, chives and shredded coconut.
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