Butternut squash is a variant of Cucurbita moschata believed to originate in Central America and Mexico about 10,000 years ago.
It belongs to the same genus as Calabaza from the Caribbean and the Philippines and Aehobak, a summer squash also known as Korean Zucchini.
The butternut squash is winter squash.
Winter squashes are harvested when they are fully mature.
Their seeds will be fully developed, and the skin becomes a sturdy rind.
Winter squashes store well during the winter, compared to summer squashes that are harvested immaturely and don’t store well.
The difference between summer squashes (Cucurbita pepo) and winter squashes (Cucurbita maxima) is the time the cultivator harvests them.
Summer squashes are harvested immaturely, while winter squashes are harvested when fully mature.
The term “squash” was first coined by the Native American word “askutasquash”, meaning “uncooked”, or “raw”.
They believed the squash to be so nutritious that they sometimes buried it with their dead to nourish them on their final journey.
The hardened shell would also be hollowed out and used as a water container.
Butternut squash, also known as butternut pumpkin, is a part of the same family as calabaza, pumpkin, and ponca.
All edible seeds from this family are known as “pepita”, the Spanish word for pumpkin seed.
In the US, pepitas available in grocery stores come as a packaged snack usually marinated and roasted, similar to sunflower seeds.
They are a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine and traditionally served as a snack.
“Passatemo”, the Italian word for “past time”, is used in Greece to refer to the unhulled, salted, and roasted seeds.
Commercially bought seeds usually come without the husk, but you can eat the whole seed if you have leftover seeds from butternut squash.
Prepare the seeds by cleaning and drying them, then roast or eat them raw for a delicious and healthy snack.
The husk of butternut squash seeds is packed with fiber and should be eaten with loads of hydration to move them through the digestive system and into the colon.
Squash seeds are similar to pumpkin seeds as both vegetables belong to the same family.
Butternut squash seeds are high in fiber and rich in fats beneficial to heart health.
In addition, squash seeds are loaded with calcium, potassium, and zinc.
What Are Butternut Squash Seeds Good For?
They can be salted, spiced, put in a stew, salad, soup, or bread.
They make an excellent addition to the diet as a healthy snack or nutritious addition to a meal.
The butternut squash belongs to a species of plants called Cucurbita moschata, together with long island cheese pumpkin, loche, golden cushaw, Naples long squash, and crookneck.
Butternut squash is a winter squash often called butternut pumpkin or gramma in Australia and New Zealand.
Early Native Americans would sometimes bury a squash with a deceased member of the tribe for nutrition while they travel to the beyond.
The butternut squash was also treasured as a part of the Three Sisters, a technique called companion planting of beneficial plants.
Corn and beans were the other sisters.
The Three Sisters get benefits from each other being grown together.
The bean plant climbs the stalk of the corn plant, stabilizing it in strong wind.
The squash plant shades the ground, keeping weeds away and the soil moist.
The bean plants add nitrogen to the soil while some squash plants have prickly hairs that help keep pests away.
One of the first companion plantings, the Three Sisters were essential to many early civilizations.
The combination of beans and corn delivers a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.
The squash has potassium, vitamins, beta carotene, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
A village would survive on just the Three Sisters even if hunting and foraging other foods failed.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Squash Seeds?
About 60 percent of the magnesium in the body is stored in the skeleton, controlling calcium levels and creating bone cells.
The recommended daily magnesium intake is 400-420 mg for men and 310-320 mg for women.
Magnesium also supports the enzymes that regulate blood sugar levels and insulin.
A high-magnesium diet may lower the risk of type-2 diabetes.
Controls Blood Pressure
Potassium is an essential mineral, meaning it is necessary to keep the body functions.
Our bodies cannot produce potassium, so we’ll have to get it through food or supplements.
It is common for Americans to eat too much sodium or salty foods while not getting enough potassium.
A high-sodium, low-potassium diet may increase the risk of high blood pressure or hypertension.
Increasing intake of potassium by eating butternut squash seeds can help with regulating blood pressure and heart rate. (Source)
Butternut squash seeds are high in zinc.
Zinc is essential for the immune system to fight viruses and bacteria and help wounds heal.
In addition, our cells use zinc to break down carbohydrates, make DNA, and grow cells.
Zinc is not stored in the body and has to be included in the daily intake.
The recommended daily intake for adults is 11mg for males and 8mg for females.
Vegans and vegetarians may need up to 50% more than the recommended amount of zinc than omnivores because plants contain phytic acid, which reduces the body’s ability to take in some nutrition.
The nutritional content of butternut squash seed per 100 grams or dried or roasted seeds is:
|Butternut Squash Seeds||Dried||Roasted|
|Saturated fatty acids||8.66||g||3.67||g|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids||16.2||g||6.03||g|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids||21||g||8.84||g|
Butternut Squash Nutrition Data
Some research suggests a diet high in antioxidants can reduce the risk of certain cancers.
In addition, antioxidants help to slow cognitive decline from aging.
Butternut squash has been credited with lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.
The anti-inflammatory properties of carotenoids might also reduce the cardiovascular risk associated with high cholesterol, hypertension, and obesity.
Table of butternut squash nutrition, per 100 gram, raw and cooked or roasted. (Source)
|Butternut Squash||Raw||Cooked or Roasted|
Does Butternut Squash Have A Lot Of Carbs?
The primary source of energy for our bodies comes from carbohydrates.
There are two types of carbohydrates; simple and complex.
Simple carbohydrates are two sugar molecules connected, while complex carbohydrates are compounds made up of a long string of sugar molecules.
Simple carbohydrates are easy for the body to digest and give you energy fast.
Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and give your body more lasting energy.
Butternut squash contains mainly complex carbohydrates and will deliver slow-burning, longer-lasting energy.
In addition, the high levels of fiber in butternut squash helps you feel full for longer.
Fiber is essential for proper weight management.