My favorite squash – butternut

Now is the time to try your favorite squash.

With fall setting in to Michigan, there are still so many vegetables and fresh produce that you can enjoy for meals and snacks. One of my favorite fall (and winter) vegetables is butternut squash. You might have butternut squash available in your garden right now or be seeing them at your local grocery store or farm market. Just last weekend while I shopped with my family and we made our way through the produce section, my 4-year-old saw a butternut squash and asked if we were getting squash. Even kids enjoy squash!

Michigan State University Extension recommends enjoying butternut squash on a regular basis as part of your 2.5 cups of daily vegetables. Butternut squash (1/2 cup cubed) provides your body with only 50 calories and has two grams of fiber, 260 percent vitamin A and 40 percent vitamin C, fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free and good source of vitamins, potassium and magnesium.

Store the squash in a cool, dark place for up to one month. Once squash has been cut, refrigerate the leftover portion. If you find yourself with lots of butternut or other winter squash in your garden or while visiting a local farm market, MSU Extension Michigan Fresh program has recommendations for safely preserving your winter squash. Butternut squash can be canned or frozen for you to enjoy through the winter months.

A simple way to enjoy the squash is to bake it. Start by washing the outer rind of the squash and then slice it in half, lengthwise. Next, scoop out the seeds, cut into half-inch slices and place squash on an aluminum foiled baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Melt two tablespoons of margarine and add two tablespoons brown sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon. Spread the mixture on the squash and then place in a 400 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes or until tender. You can serve in slices or mash once you are ready to serve.

Below is another favorite recipe I suggest.

Squash apple casserole

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups winter squash (such as acorn, butternut or hubbard)

1 1/2 cups apples (cooking, such as McIntosh, Granny Smith or Rome)

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

1. Wash and prepare squash and apples (for extra fiber, keep peel on apples).

2. Alternate layers of squash and apples in 8x8 inch pan; end with apples.

3. Sprinkle spices over top layer.

4. Cover with aluminum foil.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until squash is tender.

For additional ways to enjoy butternut Squash visit the Fruits and Veggies More Matters website.

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