WHAT IS A BUTTERNUT SQUASH?
Also known as a butternut pumpkin or gramma, this tan squash grows on a vine. Technically a fruit, as it ripens the skin turns orange in color and the butternut can weigh up to 5 pounds. A Native American original, the name squash is from the Massachusetts’ Narragansett word “askutasquash” which means eaten raw. It tends to keep the longest versus other members of the gourd family. And the skin is so thin that peeling when cooking and pureeing is an option versus a necessity.
WHY ARE BUTTERNUT SQUASH GOOD FOR YOU?
They are rich in the minerals magnesium and potassium as well as vitamins A and C. Butternut squash is also a good source of fiber.
WHEN ARE BUTTERNUT SQUASH IN SEASON?
In general there are two types of squash, summer and winter. However these don’t refer to their growing seasons, but rather how long they last. Gourds with a higher water content only keep for a short period of time and are called summer squashes (zucchini). And those with lower moisture levels don’t spoil as fast and are called winter squashes (acorn or spaghetti). Butternut is the latter and today is available in most stores year-round. However traditionally it was planted in the early fall since it favors cooler temperatures.
HOW SHOULD BUTTERNUT SQUASH BE STORED?
If uncut, store them like potatoes in a cool, dark place. They’ll keep for up to 4 weeks. If cut, then peel, gut, cube and store in a sealed zip lock bag in your refrigerator for several days.
WHAT IS THE PROPER WAY TO PEEL A BUTTERNUT SQUASH?
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WHO ARE BUTTERNUT SQUASH’S TWO SISTERS?
In Native American mythology this gourd has two siblings -the corn and the bean. In a beautiful example of natural synergy, corn provides a structure upon which beans can grow. And together these two provide shade under which the third beautiful sister, squash, can flourish!