Butternut Squash

Butternut squash! You see it in the grocery store, and maybe it’s a little intimidating. The skin is hard, after all, and there’s all those nasty seeds and strings inside. But if you can get past all that, you’ll see that butternut squash is the hidden powerhouse of the fall season.

Did you know that there are numerous health benefits to butternut squash? The first thing you notice about this lovely gourd is its beautiful orange hue. Well, this means that it is packed full of carotenoids, the nutrients that protect against things like heart disease, macular degeneration, breast cancer, and birth defects. Butternut squash is also packed with Vitamin C, and in this cold-prone season, who couldn’t use some extra vitamins? Then there’s all the fiber, that good, necessary vegetable matter you need to be healthy. If all that hasn’t sold you on the nutritional content, you should also know that butternut squash is high in antioxidants, those anti-inflammatory wonders that you hear so much about.

At this point, you’re probably getting ready to run to the grocery store and buy a whole cartload of squash. But how do you choose the right one? Make sure the skin is unblemished, feels heavy for its size, and has a matte rather than glossy skin (glossy indicates it was picked too early). Take it home and store it in a cool place. These babies will keep up to three months if you don’t cut them.

We’ll wait a few moments, while you run to the store and do a little shopping.

Back? Good!

So what do you do with your squash now that you’ve got ’em? There are literally hundreds of squash recipes out there. On of our favorites is butternut squash soup. Here’s a link to a really excellent recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker blog. Our secret trick? Throw in a dash of curry powder with this, or any other savory recipe. You won’t taste the curry, but the flavor will deepen in the best kind of way.

Squash isn’t just good for eating, however. It can also make a wonderful DIY decoration for your home. Gonna Stuff a Chicken has a great list of ideas, from carving them like pumpkins to putting them on your porch as part of your fall decorations. Another great idea is to transform your squash into a table centerpiece, by turning it into a festive flower vase.

First, pick a squash that will stand up on its end. Then cut off the top, and carefully scoop away as much of the inside as possible. After that, just fill it with water and put your flowers in the top! This vase won’t last long, but it is wonderful for a fall dinner party and makes a funky way turn flowers into a unique present.

We hope you enjoyed our look at butternut squash. If you have any other squash ideas, or recipes you’d like to share, let us know in the comments!

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