Written by Katie of Good Life Eats
I have not always been a fan of winter squash. I never cared for it as a child, but rather ate it because I was told to – so long as it was covered with enough butter and brown sugar. I was never a picky eater, but I always had a couple things that, even after trying, I just didn’t care for, and squash was one of them.
As an adult, however, I’ve found that sometimes liking or not liking certain vegetables or other ingredients depends so much on how that ingredient is prepared. Not to mention that taste buds mature with age.
It’s always good to keep experimenting and trying new things. Sometimes I surprise myself with the way my tastes have changed.
I know now that I don’t like to eat plain, cooked squash straight out of its shell. I like my squash best when it is cooked and used within a recipe, like with this Butternut Squash and Apple Soup. I’ve found that the variety of winter squash that I like the best is probably butternut squash, thanks to its sweet nutty taste.
Although I definitely have a favorite winter squash, I certainly can appreciate all that winter squash has to offer during a time where, in my opinion, produce is often pretty boring (I have always favored the brightly colored spring and summer fruits and vegetables).
Winter Squash Tips and Tidbits
How to Select Winter Squash
Look for a squash that feels firm and heavy. Skins of winter squash should smooth and matte and be free of cracks, soft spots, mold or other imperfections.
How to Store Winter Squash
Winter squash does not require refrigeration for long term storage. Under proper conditions, winter storage can keep for about a month. Try storing squash in brown paper bags in a dark, cool place (around 50 degrees F; 10 degrees C).
Paper bags are preferred over plastic because plastic bags trap moisture and can cause rot whereas paper bags are breathable.
Health Benefits of Squash
Winter squash is often a great source of fiber as well as vitamin A and vitamin C, which are helpful during cold and flu season. Butternut squash, specifically, is also a good source of potassium and vitamin E.
Recipe: Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
If using a blender, be sure to hold the lid down with a towel and your hand and always puree with caution. I usually start on low and work up to high puree. I like to use my blender to make pureed soups, but you can also use a food processor or immersion blender.
Some of my favorite varieties for this soup are: Braeburn, Gala, or Honeycrisp, but you can use whichever apples are your favorite. I prefer to use the sweet apples for this soup rather than ones that are more tart, like Granny Smith.
This recipe comfortably serves 4 when paired with a side of bread or savory scones. We love Gruyere Sage Scones as a side.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 16 ounces cubed butternut squash, about 1 large squash
- 1 small leek, cleaned and sliced, about 1/3 cup
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup cubed apple pieces
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced sage leaves
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
In a dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Add the butternut squash and saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. If the squash begins to brown, turn heat to low.
Add the prepared leeks and garlic to the pan with the squash. Saute for 1 minute. Add the apples and saute for another 2 – 3 minutes.
Cover the vegetable mixture with the broth and water. Add the bay leaf. Simmer over medium-low to low heat until the squash and apples are very tender, about 7-10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Transfer mixture (carefully) to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add the maple syrup, sage and half and half or cream. Blend again until combined. Taste and then season with salt and pepper according to your preference.
Serve immediately. Garnish with cream, sour cream, and/or additional sage leaves if desired.
More Butternut Squash Recipes
- Butternut Squash Bread | My Baking Addiction