Upon first glance, you may feel that the bell-shaped, butternut squash could have been more aptly named. But this member of the gourd family does tout a meaningful moniker, as anyone who has tasted its sweet yet savory interior will attest. The smooth flavor and fine texture of the butternut squash make it an ideal addition to soups and casseroles.
The butternut squash’s orange pulp indicates both the ripeness (and sweetness) of the fruit and the powerful levels of antioxidants it contains. The color signals the presence of beta-carotene, which provides the body with vitamin A. Just one cup of butternut squash contains 163% of you daily recommended intake of vitamin A, along with 41% of your DRI of vitamin C!
Butternut squash is not only nutritious, it’s also easy to select, store and prepare. Choose gourds that feel heavy for their size with a dull (rather than glossy) skin. When stored in a cool, dry place, a whole butternut squash can keep for up to three months. Enjoying the fruit is as simple as baking it for about an hour, but you can also be more creative; cutting it into chunks for steaming and sautéing, or mashing it to be used as a puree or stuffing. For a simple side that embodies the natural flavors of butternut squash, try this recipe for Honey Roasted Squash Rings. Or you can make this week’s Root Vegetable Chili for a spicy take on this agreeable gourd.