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Top 8 Butternut squash Nutrition facts and Health benefits


Selection and storage

Butternut squash, being a member of the winter squash vegetables, can be readily available in the USA markets from September until the middle of December. However, since they are imported from the South American countries to the US they can be easily procured year-round.

Buy fresh whole butternut squash instead of its cut sections. Look for mature produce that features a fine woody note on tapping, and is heavy in hand. Its stem should be stout and firmly attached to the fruit.

Avoid those with wrinkled surfaces, spots, cuts, and bruises.

Once at home, mature squash can be stored for many weeks in a cool, humid-free, well-ventilated place at room temperature. However, cut sections should be placed in the refrigerator and wrapped in a plastic bag where they keep well for a few days.

Preparation and serving methods

As in pumpkins, some hybrid squash varieties are subjected to insecticide powder or spray. Therefore, wash them thoroughly under running water to remove dirt, soil, and any residual insecticides/fungicides.

Long-neck butternut fruit contains more meat, shallow cavities, and fewer seeds. Trim the stem end and slice the whole fruit into two halves. Remove the inner net-like structure and set aside the seeds. In general, wedges/small cubes can be employed in the recipes.

Butternut’s unique golden-yellow color is due to yellow-orange phenolic pigments in their skin and flesh.

Almost all the parts of the butternut squash plant; fruit, leaves, flowers, and seeds are edible.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Being a member of the pumpkin family, butternut squash has a pleasant musky flavor and mildly sweet taste. Fresh, raw butternut cubes may add a special crunchiness to vegetable salads.

  • It is a favorite of chefs in both savory as well as sweet dishes. It can be used in a variety of delicious recipes as baked, stuffed, or stir-fried. Steam cook to get maximum nutrients.

  • In Mexico, butternut squash bisque (soup) with added fruits, herbs, or seafood is a favorite appetizer.

  • As in pumpkins, it can also be used in the preparations of casseroles, pies, pancakes, custard, ravioli, bread, and muffins.

  • Roasted and tossed butternut squash seeds can be used as snacks.

  • As in pumpkins and zucchini, squash flowers too can be stuffed with cheese or added to soups.

Safety profile

Butternut squash has no known reported cases of allergic reactions. Pregnant and nursing mothers can eat it safely. However, being a member of cucurbits, some fruits may carry cucurbitacin toxin. Therefore, bitter-tasting butternuts, raw or cooked, should be completely avoided. (Medical disclaimer).

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Further reading and Resources:

  1. Stanford School of Medicine Cancer information Page- Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk. (Link opens in new window).

  2. USDA National Nutrient Database.



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