Food Feature of the Week: Butternut Squash

What’s a sport, a drink, and grows on a vine?!

This week, we’re spotlighting the latter squash. The butternut squash comes into season during the winter and features a sweet, nutty taste. This fruit results from a cross between the gooseneck and the Hubbard squashes. According to popular lore, the butternut squash gets its name from its smooth, buttery texture and sweet, nutty flavor.

The most popular variety of squash originated a mere 30 miles away in Stow, MA. The Waltham Butternut, also known as Winter Squash, features a slightly elongated neck with a thick cream-colored skin. The skin provides the most difficult challenge for chefs, as the squash’s thick exterior must be peeled away before cooking.

Commonly confused with pumpkins or sweet potatoes, butternut squash makes delicious soups and purees in brilliant orange colors. In fact, in Australia, it is named and used interchangeably with the same gourd we adorn our doorsteps with in late October.

As well as being delicious, butternut squash is a good source of fiber, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. Be sure to check out your Chef’s Table on Thursday to try some!

Fruit or vegetable?

The common standard for determining whether something is a fruit is by asking the question, “Does it have seeds?” This benchmark comes from complex botany and biological processes, but even so doesn’t fit the enormous variety of fruits and vegetables we know today. Therefore, most societies refer to technical fruits as vegetables, such as tomatoes, pumpkin, squash, peppers, and many others. Furthermore, some people argue that vegetable is solely a culinary term, so attempting to define its boundaries is simply fruitless.

Confused yet? In 1893, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Nix vs. Hedden that the tomato should be classified on customs forms as a vegetable rather than a fruit. So what is a butternut squash? Who knows.

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1 Response to Food Feature of the Week: Butternut Squash

  1. Samantha says:

    That bit about the distinction between fruits and veggies was seriously enlightening! Thanks FLP!

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