Preparing butternut (for beginners)

Don’t let the tough-looking exterior of butternut put you off cooking with this fabulous squash.

Butternut is delicious, versatile and packed with nutrients.

Choosing your butternut….

In order to get the most out of your butternut, you need to pick the right one. The rule of thumb when choosing a butternut is to go for one that has a long slender neck and a smaller round base. The neck has a solid core of butternut and the base houses the seeds – the more neck you get, the more butternut you get.

You want your butternut to be fairly heavy and firm to the touch. If it’s light and feels a bit spongy, it’s not worth investing in.

Slice and dice

For most recipes, I keep the skin on (to increase the fibre content), so please make sure to use a sturdy sharp knife and a board that won’t slide (place it on a tea towel for grip). If you do peel the squash (to make a mash for example), simply use a potato peeler.

Here are my tips to prepare butternut for cooking:

  • Give the squash a good scrub and dry. Keep the skin on.
  • Cut a thin slice off each end to remove the top and bottom.
  • Next, cut in half at the point where the top slender part starts to bulge. You’ll now have a narrow cylindrical top half and the rounded bottom half.IMG_3001
  • Cut each half vertically down the middle to be left with four quarters.Butternut 3
  • Use a spoon to remove the seeds from the rounded quarters and cut into equal sized chunks.Butternut 4

Now cook your butternut – roast, steam, boil or barbeque whole (double-wrap in tinfoil and place in hot coals, turning regularly).

Butternut is versatile and matches well with most herbs (especially mint, sage, rosemary and thyme) and spices (coriander, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, chilli) and can also be used for sweet baking.

Try this Autumn Spiced Butternut Soup for an easy, delicious butternut dish.

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