Hello, little butternut squash!
This pear-shaped squash is considered a POWER FOOD due to it’s multitude of health benefits. It is a member of the gourd family, and is technically a fruit due to the seeds located in the deep orange-colored flesh. They are available year-round but best to eat when they’re in season. Since it’s very rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, it promotes optimal health including anti-inflammatory benefits. (Contains: Vitamin A, C, B1, B3, B5, B6, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, copper, and tryptophan.) Even though there are minimal studies, it may prevent cardiovascular disease and block the formation of cholesterol, too. It is low in calories containing 82 calories per cup. There is NO fat, either!
- Antioxidants – “Any of various substances (beta carotene, vitamin C, and alphatocopherol) that inhibit oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen and peroxides, and help to protect the body from free-radical damage.”
- Phytonutrients – “Antioxidants that disarm free radicals before they can damage DNA, cell membranes, and fat-containing molecules such as cholesterol.”
Source: The Everything Superfoods Book by Delia Quiqley, C.N.C. with Brierley E. Wright, R.D. 2008
The healthiest way to cook butternut squash is to cut it into 1″ cubes and steam it for 7 minutes. But, I went a little further and baked it! 🙂 Recipe is adapted by A Taste of Home. (Please see the link for the detailed recipe.)
After cutting it in half, scoop out the seeds.
After brushing the halves with butter, you’ll mix the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper together and sprinkle on top. Then, sprinkle on brown sugar. Bake (covered) at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or longer.
Butternut squash recipes:
- Cooking Light – Healthy Butternut Squash Recipes
- Eating Well – Butternut Squash Recipes
- Martha Stewart – Butternut Squash Recipes
- Cooks.com – Butternut Squash
Other source of info: The World’s Healthiest Foods and Whole Living.