I don’t know about you all, but I am loving this mild, non-snowy winter we are having! This weekend I not only took a few walks with the dogs, but was able to run 5 miles on the road with just regular running clothes on… No hat, mittens, or long underwear required in warmer temps! Woohoo! This time last year I would not have even thought about running on the road with the huge snowbanks we had. Thankful for no snowbanks yet this year
And thankful that I signed up for a winter CSA with Brookford Farm this year and I’m still able to eat fresh, local, organic produce in January. Last week when I got a huge butternut squash in my share, I thought to myself, “I need to make this an ingredient of the week!” This is the fourth time I’ve received a butternut squash from Brookford since I started my CSA back in September. I’ve received multiple other kinds of squashes, usually one or two a week, and all have been wonderful; however, the butternut has been my absolute favorite. Sweet, juicy, bright orange, simply delicious. They are so sweet they taste like candy to me. The best butternut squash I’ve ever had, by far. They are so juicy that when I start peeling them, their juices instantly begin to roll down their sides. (I wish I could capture this in a picture but my camera is not great.) AMAZING. Have you ever had a squash do that before?!
I could go on and on about how wonderful Brookford’s butternut squash are, but I will probably lose some of you, so I’ll just continue on with the health benefits:
- Contains high levels of antioxidant vitamins C and E, as well as iron, calcium, potassium, fiber, and magnesium. Also contains a good amount of folate, which helps brain and spinal cord development in fetuses. (see Whole Living: Butternut Squash)
- Contains carotenes such as beta-carotene (vitamin A) and beta-cryptoxanthin, which helps protect your body from lung cancer, and other carotenes that help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Carotene also helps in lung development in fetuses (again, see Whole Living: Butternut Squash)
- Contains anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce asthma and arthritis problems.
Some tips about butternut squash:
- It can be stored for up to 6 months is a cool, dark, dry place, such as a root cellar or basement. Doesn’t need to be kept in the refrigerator.
- Make sure to use all parts of the butternut squash (or any squash) and don’t throw away the seeds. They are good for you too! To cook the seeds: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry the seeds. Lay flat on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle extra virgin olive oil over the seeds, along with a little sea salt and pepper. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the seeds start to brown and pop. DELICIOUS.
- Can be used as a substitute for pumpkin in pies, breads, soups, etc. as it is a close relative to the pumpkin, and is often sweeter and better for baking.
Some recipes and cooking tips:
- A simple and delicious recipe when using butternut squash as a side dish: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and cube one squash (see picture below for approximate size). Toss squash cubes in a bowl with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp. of sea salt, 1/2 tsp. of pepper, 1-2 tsp. of cinnamon (depending on how much of a cinnamon flavor you like). Once evenly coated, spread on a cookie sheet and cook for approximately 30-35 min. or until tender. I always make this dish for holiday meals and it gets gobbled up quickly!
Nom Nom Nom…
- On of my favorite recipes that I made this fall is Daily Garnish: Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas . Al and I love this recipe – it’s hearty and delicious!
Have you added a butternut squash to this week’s shopping list yet?!