There are so many reasons butternut squash is your food hero and I'm here to shout about them. Squashes have been consumed by the truck load in the Americas for thousands of years. They were first introduced to Europe by Columbus and were believed to have spiritual powers. Believe it or not, these curvaceous veggies were buried with the dead to provide them with sustenance on their journey through the spirit world! Superstition aside, the butternut squash is so versatile and rich in nutrients, and here are some of the reasons you should jump onto the butternut squash bandwagon pronto.
Butternut squash is a close relation to the pumpkin, which I also adore. It has half the carbs of sweet potatoes and with its unusual and nutty flavour, this colourful vegetable is sure to brighten up any dish. It's a great alternative to potato, pasta and rice, so there are many dishes you can add it to.
Squash is so easy to store, even once it's been chopped. When cut open, you can store it in the fridge for a couple of days and it will also freeze well once chopped and deseeded. When choosing your squash, go for one which is beige in colour and has unmarked, tough and smooth skin. A green tinge can indicate mould and if it's too soft, the flesh can be tasteless and watery.
Not only is butternut squash half the carbs of the (still fabulous) sweet potato, it causes a slower rise in blood sugar levels and has only 36 calories per hundred grams, meaning you can feel super virtuous for tucking into some squash.
You can rest assured that the butternut squash is going to pack a nutritional punch. It's packed full of vitamins and is a useful source of vitamin A, which is essential for eyesight, vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system and vitamin E, which is an essential antioxidant. It's also a good source of vitamin B1, which helps prevent the buildup of toxic by-products in the body and B6, which is great for alleviating those nasty pre-menstrual symptoms. I'm not done yet. It's also rich in folic acid, which is required for normal cell division and with its brilliant orange flesh, it is high in beta-carotene, alpha carotene and lutein to help protect against the effects of aging.
The seeds can also be eaten, so don't throw them out once you have deseeded and chopped the squash. Just wash the seeds free of any fibres before you cook them. You can either use the seeds raw or dry fry them in a non stick pan and add them to salads and soups.
It's so easy to prepare too. Just cut off both ends, chop it in half, scoop up the seeds (remember to save them) then cut the flesh into slices or cubes. You could always leave the skin on for baking, roasting or steaming.
Boiled, baked, barbecued, pureed in a soup, grilled or toasted, there's nothing that this vegetable isn't capable of. You could even try stuffing it with vegetables and cheese, then grilling or baking it. Delicious.
Is anyone else a fan of this super squash? How do you eat yours?
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