|Butternut Squash Quick Facts|
|Scientific Name:||Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'|
|Origin||Perhaps it might be originated from Southern Mexico to Central America.|
|Colors||Light green to uniform dark green or with cream spots|
|Flesh colors||Light or bright orange to greenish|
|Taste||Light to very sweet|
|Major nutrients||Vitamin A (106.43%)
Vitamin C (32.67%)
Vitamin B6 (16.62%)
Vitamin E (13.47%)
|Health benefits||Source of antioxidants, Lower inflammation, Treatment for cancer, Stronger bones, Lowers fatigue|
Butternut squash is known from other names such as Butternut Squash, Golden Cushaw, Cheese Pumpkin, Japanese Pumpkin, Musky Gourd, Melon Squash, Musky Pumpkin, Musky Winter Squash, Musky Squash, Seminole Pumpkin, Tropical Pumpkin, Winter Marrow, Winter Crookneck Squash, Winter Pumpkin, Winter Straightneck Squash, Winter Squash, Ayote, Butternut pumpkin, Canada crookneck, Canada pumpkin, China Crook-neck Squash, Crookneck pumpkin, Crookneck squash, Crookneck winter squash, Cuban pumpkin, Cushaw, Cushaw squash, Dickenson field pumpkin, Lacayote, Musky gourd, Musky winter squash, Neck pumpkin, Pumpkin, Rustyback and West Indian pumpkin.
Butternut squash is a monoecious and annual herb. It has slightly angular stems and 3 to 5 branched tendrils as well as shallow branched tap root system. The plant bears alternate and simple leaves broadly ovate to cordate to suborbicular measuring 20-25 × 25-30 cm having white blotches and shallowly lobate with 3 to 5 ovate or triangular lobules. Flowers are large, solitary, axillary and bright yellow to orangey to yellow. Male flowers have 16 to 18 cm pedicles with short calyx which is foliaceous and broadly campanulate to pateriform. Female flowers are ovoid, globose, cylindrical, oblate, conical, piriform and turbinate ovary having thickened style and three lobate stigmas. The fruit differs in shape and size but have smooth and rounded ribs, durable, soft rind and of variety in color uch as light green to uniform dark green. Fruit is bell shaped to cylindrical. It has light or bright orange to greenish flesh which is soft and not fibrous. Flesh contains various flattened seeds in ovate to elliptical shape measuring 8 to 21 × 5 to 11 mm with yellowish to white surface.
Health Benefits of Butternut squash
Butternut squash helps to promote skin heath, eye health, promote digestion, lower chronic disease, build strong bones, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and others. Some health benefits are discussed below:
- Source of antioxidants
Butternut squash has high content of antioxidants which is a natural treatment for oxidative stress. Antioxidants act as a scavenger of free radicals which are created by various body functions. It enters the body though sun exposure, exposure to certain chemicals and processed food products. If the diet is rich in dangerous chemicals and empty calories, and if one is exposed to chemicals and sun then the free radicals cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with large diseases and is associated with cancer. Nutrients are rich in fat soluble antioxidants which are absorbed into body when accompanied by fat sources such as olive oil and avocado oil. Butternut squash has high content of Vitamin A which is a great source of antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin that are associated with lowering inflammation and prevent cancers. It also contains manganese which supports in enzyme reactions of antioxidants.
- Lower inflammation
Butternut squash contains adequate amount of beta-carotene which promote immune responses and counteract diseases and illness. Vitamin A helps to boost immune system. It helps to fight autoimmune disorders and cancer. Vitamin A helps to lower inflammation which is the root problem of various diseases. Inflammation is caused by overactive immune system which attacks more. The intake of foods helps to balance immune system and lower inflammation. Butternut squash has rich content of Vitamin C which assists in prevention of colds and infections such as lung infections and pneumonia.
- Treatment for cancer
Butternut squash is a cancer fighting foods which helps to lower the chances of cancer by providing the nutrients to the body which makes it healthy and able to counteract diseases as well as infections. Protein in Butternut squash assist in inhibition of growth of skin cancer cells which makes it anticancer agent. Vitamin C is helpful to treat lung and ovarian cancer
- Stronger bones
It is helpful to maintain strong and healthy bones. High content of potassium is essential for stronger bones. High content of potassium is related with denser bones even in older men and postmenopausal women which suffers from brittle bones and have high chances of osteoporosis. Manganese found in butternut squash helps to prevent osteoporosis and bone health in women who have undergone through menopause. It assists in maintaining structure of bones, absorption of calcium and promote mineral density of spinal column. Vitamin C plays a vital role in collagen production that is vital to build bone mass. Other minerals such as zinc, folate and iron contribute bone health.
- Lowers fatigue
Butternut squash is found to be effective in mice model in lowering fatigue and promotes exercise performance in the study. Vitamin C assist in physical performance as it promotes oxygen the body absorbs from air when you breathe when taken or eaten in conjunction with physical exertion. Foods rich in Vitamin C prevent upper respiratory infections which often takes place during marathon or heavy physical activity.
- Supports to lose weight
Butternut squash is loaded with nutrients without overpowering body with calories. A serving provides 82 calories which might be a great addition to meals. Research shows that extract from Butternut squash possess anti-obesity properties which have a vital impact on cellular processes such as formation of fat called lipogenesis. An intake of manganese helps to lower weight in overweight individuals when consumed with potassium and other nutrients. It has fat fighting qualities so it is a great choice to add to ta diet. Fiber is present in Butternut squash that promotes satiety or feeling of fullness which promotes in weight management.
- Lower PMS
Add Butternut squash to the diet to lower symptoms of PMS. The drugs like Midol provide relief from symptoms but provide harmful side effects. Butternut squash is considered to be a natural treatment. The deficiency of manganese causes severe pain and mood PMS symptoms. Potassium helps in prevention and alleviation of muscle cramps. Vitamin E and Vitamin K are the other nutrients found in Butternut squash that counteract PMS.
- Supports vision
Orange color in Butternut squash is due to the high content of Vitamin A which comes due to four essential types of carotenoids such as alpha carotene, beta carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein. The carotenoids (later two) work directly in retina for prevention of oxidative stress as well as macular degeneration. First two carotenoids are converted in retinol which the body could use in the form of Vitamin A.
- Normalize blood pressure
Blood pressure also affects the heart health so it is very important to normalize the blood pressure. High content of potassium in Butternut squash has able to perform this function. It acts as vasodilator so it lowers tension in arteries and blood vessels by lowering the chances of heart attack, atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. A serving of butternut squash lowers blood pressure by counteracting sodium effects in diet. The healthy range of blood pressure prevents various serious health problems.
- Digestive health
Butternut squash is a great source of dietary fiber that could promote digestive process and provide relief from problem such as bloating and constipation. The dietary fiber adds bulk to stool and stimulates peristaltic motion by lowering the chances of colon inflammation. Fiber helps to eliminate excess cholesterol from the body and protects the health of heart. Diet rich in fiber prevents the chances of constipation and stimulates healthy digestive tract.
History of Butternut squash
The butternut squash is part of the gourd family within the Curcurbita moschata varieties as well as associated with the pumpkin.
Indigenous peoples once thought squash was really nourishing that “they buried it together with the dead to supply them nutrition on the ultimate journey.” Squash was initially cultivated for the seeds simply because they were thought to improve fertility; however, with the development of the butternut squash, plants produced fruit which had a thicker skin, much less seeds and fewer waste. Butternut squash includes a buttery orange flesh along with a fairly sweet flavor.
The butternut squash is really a Native American gourd, that wasn’t generally consumed up until the Nineteenth century, however is currently “the most generally developed winter squash.” They’re grown throughout the summertime and therefore are completely season throughout October as well as November, even though they could be consumed all year round. Florida is definitely the biggest manufacturer of butternut squash in the USA.
Types of butternut squash
Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata) is really a pear-shaped winter squash that you could bake, simmer, steam as well as puree. A considerable method of obtaining magnesium, calcium as well as beta-carotene, butternut squash rates full of potassium, fiber, vitamins C and A and lower in calories. Numerous types of butternut squash provide the gardener choices as to dimension, form, weight, maturation time, color, texture, flavor and shelf-life.
1. Atlas butternut squash
Atlas F1 Hybrid Butternut Squash creates huge standard fruit, on healthy productive plants. It really is much less vulnerable to diseases and it has an extended bearing period. Fruit weighs in at in between 5 and 8 lbs. in summer and also somewhat less in, even though well adapted to, cooler seasons. The dark orange flesh is firm, the skin is smooth and contains a fantastic life expectancy. The Atlas is fantastic for both processing as well as fresh market produce. In the butternut comparison test performed by the University of Tennessee Plateau Research and Education Center in 2007, this particular squash produced much more fruit compared to any kind of various other seven types analyzed.
2. Avalon butternut squash
Even though reduced average weight per fruit as opposed to Atlas, the Avalon butternut squash is much more evenly shaped as compared to various other butternut squash and it has an all-natural ability to resist mold. It matures within 88 days.
3. Butternut 401 squash
Butternut 401 fruit averages 3 pounds as well as mature in 80 days. Additionally, it has ability to resist powdery mold. This particular new uniform butternut squash develops on the semi-bush and is also mainly sold as fresh produce.
4. Waltham Butternut
The Waltham Butternut squash includes a mild cream to powerful exterior as well as takes 110 days to fully develop. It is really an antique selection, meaning that the grower can easily replant the seeds from its fruit every year without dropping all of its appealing functions. Growers deliver this particular well-liked squash to marketplaces as fresh produce and its particular thicker neck as well as bulb and tough hard skin turn it into a great choice for storage.
5. Argonaut butternut squash
The burnt orange huge Argonaut includes a thicker incredibly long neck as well as weighs approximately 30 lbs. The deep orange flesh features a meaty consistency and high sugar content. Even though it needs a 140-day growing season, it features a lengthy life expectancy.
6. Ultra butternut squash
The Ultra Hybrid Premium develops in 3 months on the vine having a powerful canopy as well as creates huge yields. Every fruit has light tan exterior, bright orange, sweet, fine flesh as well as weighs from eight to ten lbs. This particular butternut squash is particularly great for digesting.
7. Quantum butternut squash
Maturation in 105 days, the Quantum Hybrid includes a smooth tan exterior and every 10-inch fruit weighs in between 3 and 4 lbs. Due to its extremely standard shape and size, thicker neck as well as small seed cavity, this particular butternut squash is really a perfect choice for boxing as well as processing.
8. Butter Boy Hybrid butternut squash
This particular variety generates 2-3 pound squash which are light orange colored, the soft flesh is bright orange and it has a nutty and incredibly sweet taste, prepared in 80 days, vining type plant, great for standard gardens.
9. Burpee’s Butterbush
This particular variety is prepared in 75 days, small plants great for container or even traditional gardens, squash are 1-2 pounds, pale orange skin along with deep orange flesh, fairly sweet taste as well as buttery consistency.
10. Autumn Glow butternut squash
This particular butternut squash variety creates sturdy fruit calculating 8 inches lengthy having a golden yellow skin, the flesh is soft and somewhat sweet as well as nutty, prepared in 80 days, small plant is wonderful for both container as well as traditional gardens.
- Consume seeds either fresh or roasted to provide relief from distention and abdominal cramps caused due to intestinal worms.
- Prepare an emulsion by grounding flour and adding water.
- It is useful to eliminate parasites and tapeworms from the body.
- In United States, seeds are for treating intestinal infections.
- It is used for treating kidney problems.
- Topically flowers are used to soothe minor injuries.
- In NW Guyana, leaves are used for treating hemorrhages.
- An infusion made from flower is used to cure jaundice.
- Place the crushed pulp on forehead to cure headache, tumors and on eyes for ophthalmia.
- Avoid its excessive consumption.
- People who have known allergy should not consume butternut squash.
How to Eat
- Leaves, shoots, fruit and flowers are consumed as vegetable.
- Add leaves and shoots to stews and soups.
- Blossoms are consumed raw or cooked.
- In Pacific, flowers are fried with onion, fish and tomato.
- Dip the blossoms in batter and fried.
- Bake the fruit and cook till soft and use it in pies, stews, custards and jams.
- Add fruit to curries.
- Pumpkin drink is prepared with coconut milk in Pacific.
- The dried flesh are grounded into powder and used with cereals to make cakes and breads.
- Seeds are consumed raw, roasted or dried and serve it as snack.
- Oil extracted from seeds is used for cooking.
- Mash it into casseroles, soups, muffins and breads.
- Season the grilled butternut with species such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In Mexico, soup is prepared from Butternut squash by adding herbs, fruits and seafood.
- Stuff the flowers with cheese.