I started to grow my own grub several years ago and one of the first things I tried growing was Butternut Squash. However, after three years of trying to grow these successfully I no longer attempt to grow them. There are a couple of issues with growing these that make my circumstances non compatible. Hopefully, if you are new to growing your own fruit or vegetables then this review can help decide if this is a crop you wish to grow.
Butternut Squashes are large pumpkin-like vegetables that are the perfect Autumn food. As a vegetarian it's one of the foods I often eat as a meat replacement. I was therefore quite excited when starting to grow these.
However, these aren't the easiest things to grow unless you have the correct conditions! To begin with these plants require a lot of space. You can plant them into the ground, of course, but you will need a hole at least the size of a football for each plant. You will also need to space them well apart. Unfortunately I don't have dedicated garden space and usually put all of my plants into pots. Obviously if you need a pot this size for your Butternut Squash plants you have to purchase a very large container which can be expensive and also the compost to go in it which is also a financial aspect.
I also found that these plants seem more sensitive to growing conditions than other vegetables I have grown. They are slower to grow in colder conditions so unless you have a greenhouse or can keep your seedlings indoors then you can end up with plants that either don't produce fruit or the development of the fruit is delayed to a point where you can not harvest it before the plant dies off in the Autumn weather. Unfortunately this is my experience.
Despite tending to the plants I have ended up with just one half grown fruit or plants that produce nothing at all. It's very disappointing, especially when the plant requires so much care - more so, it seems, than other vegetable crops I manage. The plant does require a later sowing in indoor conditions, warm conditions throughout it's life-span, a planting in a sunny spot and frequent watering.
In my opinion these aren't an easy vegetable to grow. I personally would recommend growing something like courgettes (easy to grow and produce plenty of fruits) instead of this if you are an inexperienced grower or don't have the conditions needed to cultivate these. However, if you wish to give it a go then you can purchase seeds from garden centres and other stores in the UK.
It makes sense to grow things that you really like to eat OR are expensive to buy in the shops. Butternut squash is one of those vegetable for me. For the sake of a packet of seeds you can grow enough of these to keep you going for months. On that note, if you save and dry the seeds from one of your harvest then you will never need to buy seed again!
Growing from seed
I started, initially, with seeds. Butternut seeds, as anyone who has ever eaten them will know, are quite large. You don't get many in a packet so it makes sense to give every seed the best chance of germinating. I start mine in early April with two seeds per four inch pot. Bury them about an inch deep in compost and keep moist. The pots will benefit from being in a warm greenhouse or in the home, covered with glass or even cling film to keep the moisture in. Keep an eye on them daily. Remove the glass/film as soon as they germinate and keep the compost damp.
Once the seedlings are about three inches tall ( 1-2 weeks) it is time to separate them and grow them on in their own pots. I usually graduate them to a medium sized pot where they will stay until planting outside.
About a week before they go outside they need to be 'hardened off' to the climate outside the greenhouse. Put them outside during the day and bring them in at night. Butternut vines do take up a lot of room. They like to spread runners up to three or four metres. Dig over where they are to stay and enrich the soil if necessary. I grew some in grow bags last year and that proved to be a mistake. The fruits and vines were much smaller than those grown in the soil.
This year I plan to grow mine on the mature compost heap behind the shed. They will have loads of room, won't swamp anything delicate and will be filling in a rather ugly part of our small holding.
Keep them well watered during the growing season. Try and avoid soaking the leaves if possible as this can cause a silvery mildew to grow on them.
As the fruits mature, they will become bigger and heavier. To avoid scarring of the skin from being on the ground I put a small square of old carpet underneath each squash. These can be used again and again and are easily picked up at the Council Dump.
They will be ready to pick once the leaves and vines start to turn brown. Usually mid September time. Leave a good couple of inches of stalk when you cut them.
Butternut keep for months. Stored in a cold, dark shed on a layer of newspaper they should last the winter out and keep you supplied as you try out news ways to cook them. I won't go into recipes here as there are literally millions on the Internet.
These hardy veg are ideal for beginners. They are relatively trouble free and give a good yield.
Children, especially, seem to enjoy growing them as they get very quick results.
As autumn turns to winter my thoughts turn to comfort foods and in particular home made soups. I love making soups as they are really easy and tasty and one of my favourite ingredients at this time of year is the Butternut Squash. A Butternut squash is a type of winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste that is similar to pumpkin. It has yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It grows on a vine.
It is rounded at the bottom and then thinner at the top and looks a bit like a pumpkin on the outside with a similar type skin. It's a really easy vegetable to work with. When I put it in a soup all you have to do is peel it, boil it down and then it gets pulpier. It has a really strong rich taste and really thickens up a soup which I like.
The following is a recipe that was passed to me, Five Spice Butternut Soup
1 medium butternut squash (1kg) peeled and chopped
3-4 decent cloves of garlic, peeled but whole
2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 tbsp caster sugar
500ml chicken stock
50ml double cream
Put the squash and garlic in a large saucepan with the five-spice, sugar and stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until soft. Pour into a liquidiser or blitz with a stick blender, then stir in the cream and serve.
It's as simple as that. The five spices gives it quite a strong spicy flavour so you can use a bit less if you don't like that taste/smell. The Chinese spices to me have a licorice type smell but once you mix it with the butternut squash it calms it down a bit. Also, I find once the mixture has boiled for 20 minutes you can always mash it up with a potato masher if you like you soup quite thick.
I knew of the butternut squash and had seen it on the Marks and Spencer adverts featured in a Risotto, but I hadn't tasted it more than once until recently...
I bought a squash from Tesco, medium size for about £1.30. It proceeded to sit in the fridge for a couple of weeks until I finally decided to put it to use. The great thing about squash is it keeps very well in the fridge, especially if you haven't cut into it.
Preparing the squash is quite simple; give it a good peel untill the orange flesh can be seen, chop and scoop out the seeds from the larger part. Chop into pieces depending on what you're doing with it.
My first recipe was the Risotto which had been seen on t.v... I roasted the squash with some dried chilli, garlic and seasoning. This was my first mistake; by the time the squash was cooked, the garlic was burnt and tasted awful. While the squash was roasting in the oven, I cooked up the Risotto with onions, more garlic and mushrooms. Once the Risotto was ready, I added Grand Padano cheese and mixed in the squash. Thsi turned the entire dish into a different colour, and also made the entire dish taste of squash.
It tasted delicious, minus the burnt garlic. I have since cooked it again without the garlic in the roasting dish and it goes down a treat!
Other recipes I've tried include Vegetable Gratin with Squash and Spinach, Thai Curry, Thai One Pot, Honey Glazed Squash and more... Squash is very versatile and is a great addition to a spicy meal due to its sweet taste. I've cooked it with sweet potato before, but I found the overall taste was a bit excessive.
Butternut squash is a vegetable I had heard of but never tried until relatively recently. It is one of those vegetables that I looked at many times in the supermarket but never put it into my trolley, there was something odd almost funny looking about it. To be honest it always looked to me like one of those "rude" vegetables that are made fun of, they resemble the gourd famous in the Life of Brian.
I originally bought Butternut Squash to use to make vegetable purees for my youngest son, about 4 months ago. I had read in articles that it would blend down very well into a puree and would make an excellent first food and indeed it did. When I bought Butternut Squash I didn't really know what to do with it but a little research and I became a dab hand at roasting it and making it into delicious purees for my young son.
Originally I cooked the Squash to use on its own. To prepare the Squash I cut it in half long ways, scoop out the numerous seeds and wrap in tin foil and then roast in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size. The Squash does have a lot of seeds, they look a bit like Pumpkin seeds, the seeds are contained in the bulbous part of the Squash, it is very easy to scoop them out, and I just use a spoon. The flesh of the Squash is a lovely bright orange colour, again not unlike Pumpkin flesh, the uncooked flesh is quite firm but not fibrous. Butternut Squash can be cooked in the oven, boiled, or cooked in the microwave, I prefer to roast it in the oven as this gives it a sweet caramelised flavour. When the Squash is cooked I spoon the flesh away from the skin, this is very easy, and it comes away very well from the cooked skin.
When I was first weaning my son I just pureed the cooked Squash to a fine lump free consistency, at first I didn't add anything else but quickly started to add other vegetables. Some of the combinations I have made for my son are Squash with carrots, or carrots and parsnips. I have also made Squash with carrots and apple, this is quite sweet but rather delicious. I have also combined it with broccoli and cauliflower, basically I use the Squash as a replacement for potatoes or sweet potatoes.
Having used the Butternut Squash as a first food for my son I have now started to extend its usage, I now use it as part of the family's main meals. I now prepare the squash by cutting it in half, scooping out the seeds and then cutting the Squash into chunks, peel them and roast them. When I am using it as part of the family meal I drizzle some olive oil over the Squash before roasting it in the oven. Generally I use Squash as a replacement for potatoes but I have also added it to soups and stews and it is delicious. I find that the Butternut Squash has quite a nutty, sweet flavour and tastes really good with just a little pepper ground over the top. I am sure as I use this vegetable more often I will become more adventurous in how I use it.
I find Butternut Squash are usually well priced and are readily available in most supermarkets, vegetable stores, the last Squash I bought cost me £1.09 in Asda.
I would definitely recommend Butternut Squash to anyone, it is great as a first food for babies but is also very versatile as a staple vegetable.
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Butternut Squash is one of the few fruits and vegetables that until recently I wasn't very familiar with. I bought one from the supermarket though and have since then found out a lot of recipes for it so that I could try it out, it was pleasantly surprising. Some of it's most common uses are in Stews, curries or pasta dishes plus it can be used in the same way potatoes are, i.e. Mashed so it's a great way to slip a bit of extra nutrients to your kids inside their mash or to simply liven up the taste a bit.
Now then like with most vegetables you need to be careful when choosing it to make sure that you get a good one. Most people, me included, make the mistake of thinking that the fatter the squash the better but that's wrong, you need one with a long stem because the base (the fat bit) contains loads of inedible seeds. The longer the neck of your butternut squash the more actually vegetable you'll get.
They are definitely not the easiest vegetable in the world to cook or to cut for that matter. Be REALLY careful when cutting them because you don't want to hurt yourself. You don't need to peel them but some people don't like the skin in which case you can. Cut the end off of the base (the fat end) and scoop out all of the seeds and stringy bits, you can't eat these. Then just slice up the rest of the butternut squash and use it for whatever recipe you have in mind.
Butternut Squash is really good for, that's why they're good to use as a subsitute for mashed potatoes. They contain loads of vitamins A & C plus calcium, potassium and magnesium plus loads others. As an extra bonus it's low in saturated fat and can be stored for several months before being eaten! Unfortunatley they cost about a £1 for a portion for 1 person, very expensive, perhaps you should try growing your own.
It's official - the ninth of April is "Gays and Butternut Squash" day. I kid you not.
I'm currently in the middle of re-thinking my awful diet that is totally void of mostly anything good for you. In this re-think I have discovered a few nice items, so I'm now totally up for grabbing the oddest looking item when I'm at Tesco to try it out.
Gay and Butternut Squash day began like any other. Work, where I tell everyone to go do horrid things to themselves, then a joyous jaunt to the land of Tesco goodness. While there I spotted this odd looking and even weirder named object- The Butternut Squash.
Liking butter, nuts and squashing, I decided this was right for me. So into my basket it went, adding a whole 90p to my total. They will vary in price between 70p and £1.50 depending on the size and the place you shop. Tesco tends to have hotter staff.
When I arrived home I found out that five (and I am not kidding) of my fellow gay friends had been lured in by butternut squash on this particular day. None of my straight friends had been effected. Conspiracy!
Storing these objects of mystery could not be easier. Just leave it somewhere cool and dry. I am told you are not supposed to keep them in a fridge. Why? Who knows. They do, however, keep for around three months.
Now I finally got round to cooking it today and let me tell you, I'm confused.
First of all I spent a few minutes trying to decide if it is a fruit or a vegetable. A quick Google revealed its vegetable status. It looks like a misshapen and rather small pumpkin. Upon cutting it open, the flesh looks like a sweet potato. The seed part looks like a pumpkin. It smells, rather oddly, like a melon which I backed up by making my flatmate smell my fingers after getting all the seeds out. Even more weird, when I put it in the oven to roast...it started to smell MEATY!! For all you butternut squashes out there, I implore you to make up your mind.
As for cooking these things, there are a few different options depending on what you like. The skin is edible so you don't need to peel it if you don't want to. It softens a fair bit when you cook it so it can be blitzed to a puree or just munched as is. Being lazy, I opted to leave the skin on, though I'd recommend you peel it as the texture isn't all that nice. I chopped half of it into chunks and roasted it along with some sweet potato. After a little research I found the seeds are also edible, so I roasted them with a little salt. A lot of people will use this for a soup, you could most likely stuff it and roast it as the seeds leave a big hollow to put stuff in. I plan to try that out at some point.
The flavour of the Vegetable of Confusion is like...well... confusing. It's sort of like a sweet potato, but slightly sweeter, and a little nutty. The seeds taste kind of nutty too. Overall its certainly quite nice!
Nutritionally speaking it's rather good for you, providing you with tonnes of beta-carotene (which most orange stuff will have...apart from maybe those horrid orange leggings I saw some woman in the other week... and is good for your eyes), Vitamin C - which is great for your immune system, Magnesium- ace for your bones and muscles and Potassium which can stop heart disease...in rats. Must be a good thing, right? Our good old BNS is also high in fibre, the benefits of which I'm sure you all know.
Over all it's a nice healthy addition to any diet, tastes great and can be cooked lots of different ways.
Just make sure you mark 09-04-09 on your calendar as a day of gay delights butter nutty fun!... oh god that sounds awful...
(review also on ciao)
I love butternut squash it is a great food that can be eaten all year round and it will go well with most hot meals.
Butternut squash is becoming one of the most popular and widely available forms of winter squash.
This can be found all across the world in lots of different styles of food it crops up in recipes for stews, pasta dishes, risottos, soups and curries. When baked and mashed you can have it as a substitute for potatoes or mix with potatoes as i do for extra taste and colour.
The looks of a butternut squash can be strange you would think that the on that is fatter has the most in it, this is wrong because the bottom of the squash is filled with seeds so when looking for a butternut you want one that has a long neck as there are no seeds there.
Its exact origin is not clear but it is thought that it was eaten in the Americas over 5,000 years ago. It is known to have been cultivated by the Incas in the fifteenth century and remains a very important source of food throughout much of central and South America.
Butternut squash is a well-balanced food source that is rich in complex carbohydrates and low in saturated fat and sodium. It is a very good source of vitamins A and C and a good source of beta-carotene, magnesium, manganese, calcium and potassium.
I enjoy eating this about 2-3 times a week and the carotene provides a lot of things that carrots do, this also gives it the slight orange colour. This is protects from sun damage. I roast butternut a lot as I find that it keeps the taste the best so must be keeping most of the good things.
When buying you should first look at it if it doesn't look like you shouldn't eat it don't. If you pick it up and f you can push a fingernail into it, it isn't ready and you will lose most of the taste. I was taught that by a seller in South Africa where I first tried it. The weight should be heavier than you think, it comes from the same family as the marrow and that is lighter than you would think it is for the size or the butternut should be heavier. But you should always try to keep to your price range as the weight increases that I have seen in shops also have a steep increase in price.
I store this on this of my freezer next to the potatoes and this is a well-ventilated area. They can last for up to 3 months but it is best to eat them a week or so after buying them since you wont no exactly how long they have been on the shelf for.
Since the butternut has a dense flesh and it is an awkward shape this means that the butternut squash requires some sort of skill to get into with out cutting a finger off. Use a large knife or cleaver to make a shallow cut down the length of the squash (curves permitting). Place the blade in the cut and knock the back of the blade (using your hand) until the squash is cut in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds and any fibrous-strings as these cannot be used (best to dry them if you want to try your hand at growing them yourself.) if you want chunks to roast you should now treat as a potatoes.
I have found that if you want to peel the butternut it is best to put it into the microwave for 2 minutes or until it looks hot then cut it and this is a lot easier just be careful not to burn yourself.
You can bake or boil butternut, I prefer bake as I find that this keeps a lot more of the flavour in, you can treat it as a potatoes but I prefer to cut it into cubes and put it into a bowl and cover in virgin olive oil put some cumin, honey and butter into a microwave able bowl and microwave the 3 ingredients until the butter has melted and stir, then pour over the butternut and it gives a very nice taste.
Price varies from season to season and size but one that should easily feed 6 costs about £6 I think £1 per person when choosing the butternut.