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Butternut Squash

Illustration of SPH - Dell - Nourish - Garden - Butternut Squash


Butternut squash is a winter squash variety with sweet, dense flesh suitable for cold weather cooking and baking. Butternut squash can only be traced back to the 1930s in the United States as a natural mutation of a crookneck squash. It had to be bred further to become dependable for mass production. The best cooking methods for butternut squash are roasting, sautéing, baking, braising, and grilling. It can be made sweet or savory in dishes like pie, muffins, curry, risotto, enchiladas, and even ravioli.

Nutritional Value

Their creator, Charles A. Leggett, named the butternut squash by saying they are, “smooth as butter and sweet as a nut.”

  • Vitamin A important for vision, bone development, and immune function
  • Vitamin C important for the immune system, healthy skin, and wound healing
  • Potassium helps lower blood pressure and helps muscles contract
  • Manganese contributes to healthy bones

How to Shop

Butternut squash should have a beige skin free from blemishes except slight scratching. It will be hard and heavy for its size.

How to Grow

Plant butternut squash seeds in the summer, so they can be harvested 4 months later in the winter. The seeds will only germinate in warm soil. They prefer direct sunlight with loose, nutrient-rich soil. To plant, till soil about 8 inches deep. Form hills out of the soil that are 1 foot in width and 3-4 feet apart. Poke 2 holes at the top of each hill 2 inches apart and 1 inch deep. Drop one seed into each hole and cover with loose soil. Thin to one plant when they reach 2 inches in height. They need 1 inch of water per week in the form of one deep watering. When the squash is 8-12 inches in length and the stems begin to turn brown it is time to harvest.

How to Store

An uncut butternut squash can be stored for 1-2 months in a cool, dark place.