How to Prepare and Cook Butternut Squash
Butternut squash has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin, which is from the same family. The riper it is the sweeter it is. Butternut squash are a great source of vitamins A and C, potassium, fibre, and manganese. They also contain antioxidants which can help prevent cancer, particularly colon cancer.
When to buy:
Butternut squash are in season in the UK September to January so at their best then, although they are available in supermarkets all year round.
How to choose:
A ripe squash will sound hollow when slapped. Avoid a butternut squash bigger than 1 kg as it will have a woody flavour. Also, make sure there are no green lines on the skin.
How to store:
Store butternut squash in a cool dark place but not in the fridge as this can make them rot. You can freeze cooked butternut squash for up to one month.
How to prepare:
Peeling and de-seeding butternut squash can be a bit awkward, but there are ways around this. You can actually eat the skin so you can leave it on if you prefer, or just remove it when it’s cooked, which is easier. If you do want to peel your butternut squash before cooking, just use a good vegetable peeler.
How to cook:
Roast: Peel, dice into small cubes and remove seeds. Toss in olive oil and herbs and roast in a pre-heated oven on a baking sheet for around 20 minutes at 190 C / gas 5 / fan 170 or cut into quarters lengthways with the skin on, remove seeds and roast for around 45 minutes.
Steam: Cube as and steam for around 15 minutes. This is better than boiling as the nutrients will stay in the flesh.
Boil: Cube and boil for 10 minutes or until tender. Boil butternut squash in stock and blend to make soup.
Grill: Slice, season with olive oil and herbs or sprinkle with cinnamon and grill. This works really well on a BBQ.
Bake: Wrap the entire butternut squash with foil and bake for 1 ½ hours at 180 C / gas 4 / 160 fan. Saves peeling and de-seeding. When cooked, scoop out the seeds and use the flesh as you need.
Seeds: You can eat the seeds! They are great sprinkled on top of soups! Wash them and dry them well. Pour evenly onto a roasting dish and season with salt and cayenne pepper. Roast for 20 minutes at 180 C / gas 4 / 160 fan giving them a good shake a couple of times during cooking.
Butternut Squash Recipe Ideas:
Butternut squash risotto – classic recipe with yummy parmesan. Add some crispy bacon for a variation.
Butternut squash soup– with crème fraiche to take the edge off the sweetness and make it creamy.
Butternut squash & feta salad – sweet roasted cubes of squash with salty feta and salad leaves. Delicious.
Butternut squash curry – the sweetness of the butternut squash works well with a lovely spicy curry sauce.
Grilled butternut squash – slide the squash, sprinkle with cinnamon and a little oil before grilling. Great side dish to roast chicken.