Sure, it has squash in the title, but we’ve been fooled before. Is Butternut Squash Actually a Squash?
The Short Answer:
Yes, Butternut Squash is a Squash.
The Long Answer:
I know, you’ve got your hands on your hips and you’re like “of course butternut squash is squash.” But hear me out.
A lot of times, foods are labeled incorrectly, and we feel it’s our job to expose that when it occurs, (See our article on vegetable oil, for instance) or to reassure people that some food titles can be trusted. This is one of those cases where you can trust in a name.
Butternut squash is most assuredly a squash. This oddly shaped plant is sometimes called gramma or butternut pumpkin if you’re down under in Australia or New Zealand, but it is most assuredly a squash. Butternut is a winter squash, and it has a sweet and nutty taste that is reminiscent of its not-so-distant cousin the pumpkin.
It’s also a fantastic source of Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, Vitamin A, and magnesium. It’s incredibly versatile, with recipes galore existing that allow it to be roasted, pureed, sautéed, toasted, and mashed. There are many soups and casseroles that employ the use of Butternut squash, and even some breads, pies, and muffins. The seeds of a butternut squash are also edible and can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
I noted before that butternut squash is considered a winter squash. But what does that mean?
I’m glad you asked!
Winter squash is harvested and eaten in its mature state, once the seeds have aged into maturity and the skin has hardened. That means that it stores well and can be kept away during the winter. Some other forms of winter squash include pumpkins, spaghetti squash, and acorn squash.
This differs from its cousin, the summer squash. Summer squash are harvested before they reach full maturity. The rind is soft and tender, and most summer squashes are eaten with the skin still on it. This is a stark contrast to winter squash, where the rind is typically removed before it is eaten. Some common summer squashes include cousa, pattypan, crookneck, straightneck, and the zucchini. (or courgette depending on where in the world you are.)
So, butternut squash is not lying to you when it calls itself squash. It is a versatile and widespread winter squash that is the perfect addition to any meal.