Welcome to the 2nd in our Speed-dating Series. B is for…..
Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata), also known in Australia and New Zealand as butternut pumpkin, and “Batana” in Sri Lanka is a type of winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It gets its name from being smooth like butter when baked and having a nutty taste. It has yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It grows on a vine. The most popular variety, the Waltham Butternut, originated in Waltham, Massachusetts, where it was developed at the Waltham Experiment Station by Robert E. Young. Dorothy Leggett claims that the Waltham Butternut squash was developed by her late husband, Charles Leggett, in Stow, Massachusetts, and then subsequently introduced by him to the researchers at the Waltham Field Station. So in biological terms this squash is a baby since it is only around since 1944.
One cup of cubed, raw butternut squash typically has 63 calories, 1.4g of protein, 0.1g of fat, 16.4g of carbohydrates, 2.8g of fibre, and 3.1g of sugar.
Butternut squash also packs plenty of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.
How I will look after you
Butternut squash composes of many vital poly-phenolic anti-oxidants and vitamins. As in other Cucurbitaceae members, butternut too has very low calories; 100 g provides just 45 calories. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, is rich source of dietary fiber and phyto-nutrients. Squash is one of the common vegetables that often recommended by dieticians in the cholesterol controlling and weight-reduction programs.
It has more vitamin A than that of in pumpkin. At 10630 IU per 100 g, it is perhaps the single vegetable source in the Cucurbitaceae family with the highest levels of vitamin-A, constituting about 354% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucusa. It is also an essential vitamin for optimum eye-sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help the body protected against lung and oral cavity cancers.
Furthermore, butternut squash has plenty of natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds like a and ß-carotenes, cryptoxanthin-ß, and lutein. These compounds convert into vitamin A inside the body and deliver same protective functions of vitamin A on the body.
It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
It has similar mineral profile as that in pumpkin, containing adequate levels of minerals like iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Butternut squash seeds are a good source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids that benefit for heart health. In addition, they are rich in protein, minerals, and numerous health-benefiting vitamins. The seeds are an excellent source of health promoting amino acid, tryptophan. Tryptophan converts to health benefiting GABA neuro-chemical in the human brain.
One interesting fact
The whole of the butternut squash plant is edible (if you get to it before the slugs). You can eat the leaves, stems and flowers, which are great in a salad, and the skin flesh and seeds can all be eaten. Instead of throwing out the seeds, wash them off and bake them and sprinkle them over a salad for extra flavour or eat them as a snack. Instead of peeling the skin chop the whole lot up to add to a soup to get some extra fibre.
And what I love to go with
Butternut Squash is a fantastic produce to have in the larder. It will last for months so is great to have a few spare when they are cheap. One of my favourite recipes with Butternut Squash is:
Butternut Squash Pie
This is one of my favourite recipes from Nigel Slater and is perfect as a light supper or a starter with a difference. It is quick and easy to make.
2 large or 3 medium butternut squashes
2 sheets of Puff pastry
Rapeseed oil (Good Quality Irish Oil)
1 knob of butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 beaten egg for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F.
Peel, de-seed and chop the butternut squashes into equal size chunks.
Add a good glug of rapeseed oil (you could also use groundnut oil) to a roasting tin and add the chopped butternut squash. Top with a few knobs of butter and sprinkle with some ground cinnamon, salt and pepper.
Place in the oven for approx 20 minutes until the butternut squash is soft. Then mash the squash in the pan.
For the crispiness, use puff pastry. Unroll a ready rolled roll of puff pastry and add the roasted butternut squash, leaving an inch all round. Brush the edges with egg wash.
Grate some Parmesan over the top.
Lay another layer of pastry on top of the butternut squash and press the edges round very firmly to seal. Two or three slits on the top of the pasty will let the steam out. Brush with some egg wash then place into the oven for approx 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Life Kitchen uses Butternut Squash in a number of our healthy recipes because it adds natural sweetness so we don’t need to add sugar! Check out our Butternut Squash and Turkey Soup or our Chicken and Vegetable Soup on www.lifekitchen.ie .
Other B ingredients we use are:
95% lean Beef, Broccoli, Beans and many more!
If you have a Butternut Squash recipe you would like to share with us we would love for you to send it in!