We really don’t need another reason to eat butternut squash other than it’s creamy, buttery texture and comforting goodness. However, we can happily add to the list with the abundance of nutritional benefits and vitamins and minerals butternut squash has to offer.
Health Benefits: Butternut squash is naturally low in fat and contains high amounts of folate and fiber- a great heart healthy food! (The fiber helping to you feel fuller longer and aid in digestion as well). It contains Vitamin B6, which is essential for a properly functioning nervous and immune system. Butternut squash is high in potassium, which helps to regulate water retention and also improves bone health.
The most noteworthy benefit is obvious in its deep orange coloring. This rich color signifies the ample amount of nutrients called carotenoids, which are big protectors against heart disease and promote eye health. It is also high in Vitamin C- helping to keep that immune system in top shape. Just one cup has 1/3 the daily dietary needs of Vitamin C. Its high antioxidant count contributes to its anti-cancer properties as well as helping to maintain that youthful glow we all strive for.
Last but not least is its anti-inflammatory benefits. Many of us have inflammation in the body that manifests in different ways. Some of the obvious are joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and many other -itis diagnosis. We all could use anti-inflammatory foods to help balance and protect against those that cause inflammation from packaged and processed foods.
How to chose: Look for those free of bruises and blemishes as well as one with a matte finish as well as shiny (not ripe enough). Check to feel the weight and aim to buy one that is heavy for it’s size. Store in a cool dry place, do not refrigerate.
How to prepare: There are numerous ways to prepare butternut squash. You can cut the squash in half length wise using a large chef knife. Scrape out the seeds, lay flesh side up on a baking sheet or pan. You can fill with 1/4-1/2 inch water to prevent from burning the bottom. Brush with coconut oil, butter or another high heat oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and your favorite spices. I bake mine on 400 for about 45-1 hr, or until soft when pierced with a fork. You can cut width-wise and carefully remove skin with a sharp chef knife (be careful!) Cut into cubes and roast, steam, or saute. You can also cut into round rings and then again into half moons, baking on high heat. Another option is to pierce the squash whole with a knife, and bake until soft, about an hour. Cut in half and scrape out skin, removing seeds.
Check back soon for my Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage + Apple soup recipe I have been selling like crazy at The Galley.