Despite the millennium-long lifespan of squash, butternut is relatively new to the game--it wasn't introduced until 1936! Now it's one of America's most popular squashes, and for good reason! Butternut squash is hearty, sweet and oh-so versatile. We love it in soup, salad and even dessert. But you already knew all that. Here's what you may not know about this delicious gourd.
For the sweetest, most flavorful squash, look for one that's hard, with matte skin and a dried-out stem (a clue that the squash is mature). Choose a squash with a greater proportion of neck to (seed-filled) bulb; you'll get more flesh that way.
Butternut squash is built to last!
A whole squash can keep up to four months in a cool, dry place. Once it's cut, it will stay fresh wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to a week. You can also freeze peeled chunks in a resealable bag for months.
Slice it right!
1. Cut off the ends, then slice the squash in half crosswise where the straight neck meets the bulbous part that holds the seeds.
2. Stand each squash piece, cut side down, on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice downward in long, even strokes to remove the skin.
3. Cut the bulbous end in half and remove the seeds (they're delicious toasted!). Now you're ready to slice or dice, depending on what you need.
Quick Idea: Squash Ravioli
Stuff wonton wrappers with cooked butternut squash pureed with caramelized onions. Pan-fry; top with more caramelized onions.
Click here for more butternut squash ideas!