The Great Butternut Squash Conundrum and Two Recipes


It tastes like pumpkin, has the same color and belongs to the same plant family, only its shape is very different. Shouldn't it be called a pumpkin? Or at least a Nut Butter Pumpkin due to its obvious anatomy? Someone somehow decided that this member of the Cucurbitaceae should belong to the group of squashes. I disagree. All the others are softer and easier to cut, cook and prepare. 

To dig deeper into the matter read this Atlantic Mag investigation about the conundrum

But...whatever you do, please don’t turn your back on a  Butternut Squash in your farmer's market just because it's not a pumpkin or you think it’s too difficult to deal with. Once you taste a deep orange flesh, like this organic fruit from The Fledging Crow Farm, your life will be like an Autumn poem. We will leave our pumpkin spice lattes behind and get hooked on one of the richest  seasonal fruit (yes you hear me it's a fruit) of all. Butternut squash is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals: I mean all the vitamin A one can get on a plate plus the wonderful load of precious potassium and other minerals, as described by WebMD, a true wonder. All you have to do is to face the music and bake it then you can use it for many recipes. 


Shy and pale outside...

As you can see, a Santoku knife is my choice for the task. The chopping board is a biodegradable  Epicurean made in the USA, just like this squash. The body of this knife just opens the squash with no difficulty. The first cut is the most demanding, with a firm movement downwards, and  the back of my can be used safely to put an extra pressure point close to the tip of the knife. As the blade and body have a gradual thickening it immediately separates both halves. Following the photos, here’s my favorite method: First, just cut in half, crosswise, and cut off both extremities. 

Bright orange inside...

Cut them lengthwise always using the sturdy base of the flat sides. 

Now grab your scooper from a pumpkin carving kit to remove the seeds, separating them from the flesh.  

I turn the oven now, aiming to have around 400 F. 

Now you can turn the largest side to the board and slice it.


The part that had no seeds will go to a baking dish with some water to be used for soup later, I cover it with aluminum foil to make sure it really cooks and doesn’t disperse all nutrition, and moisture to the oven. To optimize the oven use, I added 6 sweet potatoes, also covered in aluminum and with some water, to be used for the soup I am planning to make.

The other thinner slices will be brushed with avocado oil and then sprinkled with sea salt and smoked paprika. They are now spread to a cookie sheet. To the top shelf of the oven they go and they will be roasting for about 25 minutes. 


Back to that soup: half of the squash that is baked will get in a pot later with 6 small sweet potatoes, also pre-baked, 3 dates, and ½ inch grated ginger. They will be simmered for about 20 minutes in 6 cups of water or vegetable broth and processed with the skin with a hand blender. Look how silky:


There you go. As I promised, that’s one butternut squash mystery, two recipes and the best use for a Jack lantern Tool ever. Enjoy. It can be the center piece of a vegetable bowl or even the star of the Halloween table. 



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