Dear Fresh Farms Customers,
This week, we are highlighting Cucurbita Morschata, more commonly known as Butternut Squash, for its comfortable, wholesome and healthy qualities that make it a winter-favorite. Butternut squash can be baked by itself (with or without salt), used as the base for delicious warm or cold soup, and can even be carved as a decorative centerpiece to liven up any common dining area! With its low fat and sugar content, this fruit deserves a resounding YES amongst health conscious Fresh Farms customers. You may think you know Butternut squash, and maybe you do, but I implore you to read on and learn more about this versatile fruit.
From the heart of the squash itself to the seeds within, which are comprised of 35-40% oil and 30% protein, butternut squash is a friend to the human heart. Butternut squash, like all squash, is often recommended by dieticians to help people control their cholesterol as well as reduce weight via health-conscious dietary programs. Butternut squash is an incredible source of anti-oxidants that maintain the integrity of skin and mucus membranes.
Health Conscious Characteristics
Butternut squash is a rich source of dietary fiber and phyto-nutrients with no saturated fats or cholesterol to speak of (go to http://www.webmd.com/diet/phytonutrients-faq for more info on phytonutrients). It has more vitamin A than it’s more round cousin, the pumpkin. In fact, the typical butternut squash provides about 354% of a person’s suggested daily serving of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a powerful anti-oxidant that, apart from maintaining the integrity of the skin and mucus membranes, is essential to good eyesight. Research suggests that vitamin A helps to protect the body against lung and oral cavity cancers.
Other Vitamins and Nutrients
- B-complex vitamins
- Vitamin B-6
- Pantothenic acid
Selection and Storage
Most of the world’s butternut squash is grown within countries of Central and South America, in warm climates.
Our experts suggest that you buy whole, well-grown butternut squash instead of buying pre-cut sections. A ripe squash resembles a fine, woody note when tapped with a finger and is heavy in the hand while the stem should be firmly attached to the fruit. Butternut squash with wrinkled surfaces, spots, cuts and bruises should be avoided.
Once at home, a ripe squash can be stored for weeks on end as long as it is in a cool, humidity-free place at room temperature. Cut sections should be stored inside a refrigerator where they will stay in good shape for at least three to four days.
Preparation and Serving Method
Unless our butternut squash is labeled as “Organic” within our store they are subject to insecticides. Wash your squash thoroughly under water to remove any residual pollutants left on them during their journey to our locations.
Cut the stem end and slice the entire squash into two equal halves. Remove the central, white, web-like interior and set the seeds aside. At this point, cut the squash into whatever size your intents and purposes call for; wedges and/or small cubes are most often used for cooking purposes.
Here are some serving tips:
- This squash can be used in both savory as well as sweet dishes. It can be baked, stuffed, stew-fried, boiled, grilled… heck if you can think of something, it can be done and it will taste good.
- This fruit has a nutty-like flavor that is a bit sweet to the taste. Fresh, raw butternut cubes can be used within fresh vegetable salads to add a bit of sweetness as well as tang.
- Roasted/baked and tossed squash seeds can be used as snacks or appetizers.
On behalf of all of our family members and employees here Fresh Farms, I thank you for taking the time to learn more about our products. If you have any suggestions, comments or concerns, or if you just want to know more about any of the products we carry, please feel free my (listed below) to contact me directly. I hope this blog post, along with those that have past and those that are to come, finds you well on your journey with Fresh Farms towards a healthier diet.
Fresh Farms International Produce Market
Director of Marketing and PR
“What Are Phytonutrients? Types and Food Sources.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2014.
“Butternut Squash Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Nutrition And You.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2014.