An Unusual Use for a Fall Favorite
Butternut squash is a sweet and comforting staple that warms your home as you bake it. But butternut squash, like other winter squashes, can also be used in juices, smoothies and salads. It is rich in fiber, potassium and vitamin A, and eating it raw allows your body to absorb even more of these important nutrients. Juicing butternut squash requires more prep and effort than many other fruits and vegetables, but it can be a worthy addition to your juice repertoire, especially as a seasonal option.
Juiced on its own, butternut squash doesn't have an especially appealing flavor, but you can perk it up by combining it with other ingredients. Try juicing it together with other fall favorites, such as apples and pears. You can also spice it up with seasonings that go well with winter squash such as cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup, or a premixed pumpkin pie spice. Although you may lose some of the nutritional benefits of raw juice, you can also heat butternut squash juice and enjoy it warm.
Prepping Butternut Squash
Prepping a butternut squash for juicing can seem intimidating, but it'll go smoothly if you have a sharp knife and a reasonably good vegetable peeler. Trim the very top and the very bottom, and then peel the squash patiently. (It really doesn't take very long once you get started.) Carefully cut it in half lengthwise; scoop out the seeds, and break down the squash into pieces that will fit in your juicer.
Butternut squash, like most winter squashes, can be hard on your juicer, straining the motor and burning out blades much more quickly than other, more juiceable vegetables such as apples, oranges and even summer squash like zucchini and patty pans. Butternuts also have a very low water content, so they yield little juice for the considerable effort. Because they're so hard to cut, you'll have to do plenty of extra work to break them down into pieces small enough for your juicer. You'll also probably want to peel the tough skin from your butternut squash before juicing it, which will take additional effort. You might also choose to parboil or boil the squash to soften it first, adding another step to the process.
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Devra Gartenstein is a self-taught professional cook who has authored two cookbooks: "The Accidental Vegan", and "Local Bounty: Seasonal Vegan Recipes". She founded Patty Pan Cooperative, Seattle's oldest farmers market concession, and teaches regular cooking classes.