Get Ready for Butternut Squash

Just when you may be tiring of summer vegetables, antioxidant rich and delicious butternut squash is making its appearance. Technically a fruit because of its seeds, it has a dense interior that when cooked brings out a natural buttery flavor that is hard to resist.

The many health benefits of butternut squash include rich amounts of beta carotene and carotenoids, nutrients present in orange foods and great for the eyes and a deterrent to heart disease and breast cancer. Its high antioxidant levels also have an anti-inflammatory effect, so if you have body aches or other inflammatory conditions, make butternut squash a part of your plate at least a few times a week.

Tips for preparing

Get a good vegetable peeler and peel off the skin. Cut the squash open and remove the seeds and pulp.


Boiled squash

Roughly chop the squash into several pieces with a sharp knife. Place the pieces in a 2-3 qt. saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender - about 30 minutes. Drain the water. Add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg to the pot and whisk the squash until thoroughly blended. Serve hot.

Baked squash

Cut the squash into cubes. Drop into a bag with 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tsp of cinnamon and coat the squash thoroughly with the mixture. Lay on a lightly greased baking sheet and place in the oven that is preheated to 400 degrees F. Turn squash after 20 minutes and continue baking until tender, about 40 minutes total.