Grow Appalachia was founded with the fundamental belief that everyone has a right to food security. Equipped with the knowledge of how to grow your own food, you can turn your kitchen into a center of vibrant abundance – even in winter! With that thought in mind, we at High Rocks would like to take a moment to explore the many uses of a homegrown wintertime staple: the humble butternut squash.
First, let’s get to know the butternut!
Squash in general has been around for thousands of years, originating most likely in Mesoamerica, and was even domesticated before maize and beans. But the butternut squash is actually a very young variety, having been developed in Waltham, Massachusetts by farmer Charles Leggett in the 1940s. Leggett allegedly wanted to sidestep the gooseneck squash’s gangly, hard-to-handle shape, and so crossed it with other squash varieties. The result of Leggett’s extensive experimentation was a compact squash that was “smooth as butter and sweet as a nut”, giving way to its now-common name.
In their book “Root Cellaring”, Mike and Nancy Bubel label the butternut as a “good keeper”, and with good reason! You can store them until spring after harvesting in the fall and so you can do so much with them in that time! (P.S. If you don’t catch a butternut at proper harvesting time, you can even toss rotten chunks to the chickens or pigs as a treat!)
Everyone is familiar with the classic roasted butternut squash, but it’s a more multi-functional crop than we give it credit for. Check out these unconventional recipe ideas for a unique spin on this winter staple:
- From a great paleo recipe resource, Empowered Sustenance, comes Butternut Squash Pizza Crusts! So simple you may never go back to regular crust (but we won’t tell if you do!).
- These Butternut Squash, Sage, and Parmesan Pasties call for onion, garlic, and sage to compliment the featured element, all things that could also come from your garden!
- Why not make a Warm Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad on the side with, you guessed it, the butternut and arugula you grew yourself!
- Butternut Squash and Parmesan Dip is a great addition to any winter potluck (did someone say Super Bowl party?).
- If you’re looking for something sweeter, try Sweet Butternut Squash and Coconut Jam on some rustic bread with soft goat cheese. If you’re in our West Virginian neck of the woods, check out Sweet Violet Farm & Creamery for a local dairy option!
Let the butternut squash surprise you this winter – maybe you’ll even create a unique recipe yourself!