Butternut Squashed

I’m squashed by its delicious sweet nutty taste, its versatility, and its heart-healthy nutrients – squashed of course, in a good way. (And mainly because I already used “-aholic” as a suffix when I wrote about avocados, and it didn’t feel right to use it again). Yes, the butternut squash really is the “bell” of the ball when it comes to autumn vegetables, and here is everything you could wish to know about this bell-shaped beauty. Health benefits: 1 cup of raw cubed butternut squash comes in at 63 calories, 3g of fibre, and 5g of sugar, and is heart healthy and full of antioxidants. The flesh is a great source of Vitamin A, C, B6 and potassium, while the seeds are high in dietary fibre, protein, minerals, and the amino acid tryptophan. How to pick a good squash: It’s a bit difficult to pick a BAD squash, especially when it’s in season, but basically, you should avoid any obvious bruises and blemishes, and be sure that the flesh near the stem and bottom are firm, not soft. Opt for one that has a bit of heft to it, and has a matte or dull-coloured rather than glossy exterior. How to peel and cut properly: The density and thickness makes cutting butternut squash a bit tricky, but as long as you have the right tools: a strong sharp knife, and a good peeler. Method A: Basic
  1. Cut off about a ¼ inch from the bottom and stem end of the squash.
butternuthow-to-cut-peel-butternut-a-1 2. Peel the outer layer off using a vegetable peeler, moving in downward strokes. butternuthow-to-cut-peel-butternut-a-3 3. Once peeled make one long cut from top to bottom down the middle (this might be tricky because of the density), and pull apart the halves. butternut_squash-458x326 4. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp from the middle. 5. With the cut side facing the cutting board, chop into desired size cubes. butternuthow-to-cut-peel-butternut-a-8 Method B: knife-peeling
  1. Cut off about a ¼ inch from the bottom and stem end of the squash.
  2. Cut the squash in half or thirds.
  3. Stand the halves up so that a flat side sits firmly on the cutting board. Using a knife instead of a peeler, shave off the outer skin.
butternutknifepeel 4. Then cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and pulp as normal, continue chopping into desired cube size. Method C: Cook it whole
  1. Cut off about a ¼ inch from the bottom and stem end of the squash.
  2. Once peeled make one long cut from top to bottom down the middle (this might be tricky because of the density), and pull apart the halves.
  3. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp from the middle.
  4. Brush the flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place face down on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 45 minutes - 1 hour at 400F.
  5. Once cooled, peel the flesh away from the skin. This method works best if you wish to mash or puree the butternut squash.
How to store: if you plan on using it soon, you can keep the butternut squash at room temperature for a few weeks, or store in a cool, dry, dark place for several months. Once cut however, you should refrigerate or freeze in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week, and in the freezer for months. Recipes To Try: Curried Butternut Squash Soup, Butternut Squash and Coconut Curry, Butternut Squash and Pine Nut Pasta   Sources: http://www.thekitchn.com/eight-things-to-do-with-a-butt-128579 http://www.vegetariantimes.com/article/butternut-sqash/?utm_source=MyVegetarianTimes&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=MyVegetarianTimes http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_peel_and_cut_a_butternut_squash/ http://toriavey.com/how-to/2012/10/all-about-butternut-squash-how-to-peel-seed-slice-and-prepare/ http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/butternut-squash.html    

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