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Butternut Squash

Many children prefer sweeter flavours, so orange veg can be a great place to start! Butternut squash is affordable and super versatile – you can halve it lengthways, scoop the seeds out, rub with a little oil and roast until soft and sweet, or peel (just use a veg peeler) and cube to prep multiple ways, or just buy a bag of frozen prepped squash for ease and add to a curry, stew, chilli or soup. If your child isn’t convinced by the stronger flavour, you could always try pumpkin or sweet potato as a milder alternative, but many will love the butternut taste!
Veg Namesx35_FINAL_COMPLETE-Butternut Squash

If you love a sweet nutty flavour then stop the bus, it is time to get off. Meet Butternut Squash. They look like stretched versions of their cousin, pumpkins, and make a great alternative to potatoes.



Butternut squash contains antioxidants including beta-carotene which gives it such a vibrant orange colour just like our beloved carrots. It also contains phytonutrients which similar to beta-carotene supports eye health.


Shopping Guide

Butternuts should always feel substantial for their size and the skill should feel firm without any wrinkling or soft spots.



Butternut squash is easy to store – just leave it whole in a cool dark cupboard for months. Once peeled and/or cut, keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. To freeze, just peel and chop into cubes, then spread the cubed squash out on a tray and freeze for a few hours before popping into a freezer bag or container for up to 6 months.



Peel the skin, cut open, scoop out the seeds and then cut into 3cm chunks. You can then either coat in a little olive oil, salt, pepper, maybe some garlic and roast in a tin in an oven pre-heated to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6 for 25-30 mins, or boil until soft, and mash with a knob of butter and some black pepper.


Kids in the Kitchen

For a younger child, why not give them the job of scooping the seeds and stringy bits out of a halved, cooked squash. If you aren’t keeping the squash in halves to stuff but are just using the flesh in something else, let them scoop all of that out with a spoon into a bowl, too!

For an older child, it could be a great opportunity to teach them how to make a simple soup by mixing frozen squash cubes and water or stock or coconut milk (and perhaps a little cumin or curry powder?) in a pan and stirring until cooked, piping hot and soft. You can then help them safely blend it and see if, when they taste it, they think it needs any other flavours added.

Find more ideas for involving kids in the kitchen here.



Explore what a whole and halved squash look and feel like. What can you see? Encourage your child to use their imagination and descriptive language. Try feeling the difference between the inside and outside of the squash with your hands, and how does it make your hands feel after touching the inside? Try touching the seeds and seeing what they remind you of. Better yet, try exploring the difference in feel between a half that is raw and a half that is cooked – what are the differences and similarities? What do they remind you of? Have fun with it and see if they would like to try a little piece of the cooked one with you afterwards.

Watch our video from Ruth Platt for a visual guide to exploring butternut squash with your senses here. Find more sensory ideas, tips and videos here. If you get stuck and need a little help with describing words, we have a selection for you here, too!



Next time you cook a meal with butternut squash and want to give your child an extra opportunity to get involved and engaged before eating, why not ask them to create an orange coloured centrepiece for the table? Can they find all orange items that make for an attractive display to match the squash?

Find the best ways of involving your own child and their skills and interests on our Roles for Kids page.



Why not try our Eat Them To Defeat Them colouring sheet? Can they spot the butternut squash at the back?

Kids more interested in science? Try dropping one of the seeds from the squash into a glass of fizzy water, and watch it rise up and sink down again and again until the bubbles run out – the carbon dioxide bubbles bring the seed up to the top! You can find more at-home science fun with veg with our videos from Stefan Gates’ here.

Find loads more free veg-themed crafts here and games here.



Buying veg in season is not only great for the planet, it can be good for your wallet, too! Try buying butternut squash in late summer or autumn for the greatest deals and best flavour.

At Its Best:

September - November


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