Butternut Squash: The Unknown Fruit

Butternut squash originates from central America, and is actually a fruit. It grows on a vine and Australians call it a butternut pumpkin. It is ripe when it is orange in colour and tastes sweet and rich.

Squash is very healthy containing large quantities of fibre, vitamins (A and C), magnesium, potassium and manganese. During the warmer months it is imported from Argentina but in Britain is grows between autumn and the winter.

Butternut squash is great for cooking and is quite versatile. It can be used in soups, bakes and even curry. In South Africa it is often wrapped in tin foil and baked with nutmeg and cinnamon.

When preparing the squash you must peel off all skin (a good potato peeler is adequate) and remove all the seeds. For this just cut through the middle and scrape out the seeds the a spoon. This will only take a few minutes and shouldn’t put you off using a squash.

When buying a squash it should weigh around a kilo and be quite firm. If you buy one that is substantially more than 1kg they tend not to have as much flavour. If you tap it you should hear a hollow sound and ensure there are no green shades on the skin of the fruit. Some supermarkets sell pre-prepared squash but it is usually better (and cheaper) to prepare it yourself as you’ll get more of the goodness.

When storing butternut squash it is usually best not to store in the fridge as the moisture can cause it to become mouldy or rot. Usually a dark cool cupboard where you would usually store your potatoes will suffice. If you need, squash can be frozen. For best results peel and remove seeds, then cut the squash into 1 inch cubes and boil until they are half cooked. Then pop them into the freezer. Alternatively, make some squash soup and pop that in the freezer.

If you want more information on squash, as well as a download on how to make butternut squash soup, click the link.

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