is a type of winter squash that grows on a vine. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. 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, toasted, puréed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, breads, and muffins.
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.
Fresh butternut squash Pie
This recipe makes one deep-dish old fashioned glass pie pan. It generously serves approximately 5 adults, or can be cut into eight medium-size servings.
– Bake at 400*
– Pre-bake of the squash adds 1 hour to total preparation time.
2 cups baked organic squash (Butternut, Sugar Pie)
1 cup organic heavy cream (Humbolt, Straus)
½ cup local organic honey
2 eggs from organically pastured hens
1 teaspoon ground organic cinnamon
½ contents of a fresh organic vanilla pod (or 1 teaspoon extract)
½ teaspoon finely ground sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground organic nutmeg
½ teaspoons organic ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon organic ground clove
1 – Cut open the squash, remove the seeds and set them aside in a covered bowl (see recipe below for toasted seeds).
2 – Place the squash open-side up on a non-reactive (not aluminum) baking sheet, and bake in the oven at 350* until you can insert a fork in the flesh and it feels soft. During baking, water will evaporate and concentrate the flavor, and the sugars will develop a caramelized aroma.
3 – Let the squash cool just until you can take off the rind.
4 – Place the baked squash into a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork (or you can add the eggs at this step and use an immersion blender).
5 – When the consistency is smooth (and if there are any strings, you can draw two knives in an X pattern through the puree to cut the filaments), add the cream, honey, eggs, vanilla, salt, and spices.
6 – Pour the custard batter into a glass or ceramic pan, with or without a crust.
7 – Bake at 400* until the center is set and you can insert a toothpick or stainless steel knife into the center and it comes out clean.
Note: some honey browns on the surface more than others, and if you increase the amount of honey, the top will certainly brown more, reflecting any hot spots in the oven (rotating the pie 180* in the oven after fifteen minutes of baking may ensure an even baking process).
Toasted butternut squash Seed Snack
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, an element the body uses for internal organ tissue, and new cell generation needed in growing and healing.
1 = Briefly rinse the seeds in water, removing any strings. Lightly salt the seeds while they are still wet, and mix in the salt.
2 – Spread the seeds out on an enamel-coated pan, or on a silpat so the seeds will not stick.
3 – Bake at 250*, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are crunchy and delicious! (The water can be evaporated for a while at the lower temperature 250*, then the temperature can be raised to 350* for ten minutes to finish the roasted flavor).