When winter begins, most natural fruits and vegetables go out of season. This can make getting fresh produce difficult as it has to either be transported across the country or have a thick skin that allows it to be harvested during the summer or fall and left to ripen until the winter. One such piece of produce is butternut squash. I grew up learning the benefits of butternut squash due to my health conscious relatives, but, outside of my home, I would have thought it didn’t really exist outside of a health food store — until this season. The past few months, butternut squash has become increasingly popular both on Fairfield’s campus and in restaurants throughout the north east. Suddenly, one of my favorite restaurants is serving butternut squash soup, the grocery store always has some on hand, and I find one or another of my roommates making it nearly once a week in our apartment.
Why butternut squash? To begin with, a lot of people really like the taste, ESPECIALLY when it is roasted and sprinkled with cinnamon. But, according to medical journals and websites such as Medical Journal Today, butternut squash is also a great source of fiber, potassium, and calcium, aids in digestion, and has the added benefit of helping with maintaining healthy blood pressure, hair, and skin. So it’s both nutritious and delicious with many of the recipes being fairly easy to prepare, and even easier to find, using a quick internet search.
To begin with, butternut squash can be purchased pre-diced, so there’s no need to spend time breaking through the skin and removing the seeds if you decide to venture into cooking with this piece of winter produce. From this point, it can be transformed into a number of dishes for any meal of the day including a simple side dish of roasted butternut squash and cinnamon, the more complex dishes of butternut squash soup or pasta, and even butternut squash and maple pancakes, which I am certainly not daring enough to try.
To start off, for anyone trying to be a little more adventurous in their cooking and eating, here is a simple recipe for roast butternut squash which uses only butternut squash, Extra Virgin Olive Oil for some healthy fat and cinnamon – my favorite winter spice. Best of luck!
Roast Butternut Squash
Preheat Oven to: 400 degrees
1 large Butternut Squash/ 3 pounds cubed
¼ cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 of tablespoons Cinnamon
- Take a small Pyrex pan and pour in the olive oil.
- Place the butternut squash into the dish and add the cinnamon.
- Mix until each piece of butternut squash has oil and cinnamon on it.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring first after 15 minutes, then about every seven minutes afterwards.
- Remove from oven and serve!