Skip to content

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.

nutrition_0010_nutriton---orng

Nutrition

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.

Food-basket_0010_food-basket---orng

Shopping Guide

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

storage_0010_storage---orng

Storage

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.

cookingpot-orange-icon

Preparation

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.

KITK_0000_kitk-orng

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.

Sensory_0010_sensory---orng

Sensory

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!

Serving_0010_serving---orng

Serving

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.

Arts-Crafts_0000_Arts-Crafts---orng

Activities

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.

eatwithseasons_0010_eat-with-seasons---orng

Seasonality

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

YourFood_0010_your-food---orng

Your Food

Butternut squash is sweet and soft, so if your child has those preferences, it could be a great place to start! It can easily just be diced and roasted, mashed, or blitzed with stock for soup, but if you want more of a meal, why not try some of these…

Family Favourites

Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Everyday Curry

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Sausage and Mash

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Lasagne

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Pasta Bake

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Roast

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

Stew

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourite

Fajitas

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Family Favourites

More Recipes

Thai Butternut Curry

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 2

Claire Wright

Stuffed Squash | Veg Power

Simple Stuffed Squash

Effort: 3
Complexity: 2
Cost: 2

Claire Wright

Libby’s Pistachio Chicken Curry & Easy Flatbreads

Effort: 3
Complexity: 3
Cost: 3

Libby Savill

Squash and Apple Soup

Effort: 2
Complexity: 2
Cost: 2

Claire Wright

Veggie Fries – 3 Ways

Effort: 2
Complexity: 2
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

butternut squash icon

If You Like butternut squash…Try

Does your child enjoy butternut squash? That’s great! Butternut squash is sweet and soft, so why not try a similar texture and/or taste…

Serving_0010_serving---orng

Serving

The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it!

The first thing to do is remove the pressure. If the veg doesn’t get eaten, it’s not the end of the world. There will be other days, other dinners, other chances. Fun is key here – try not to worry about mess, perfect table manners, or playing with food. Instead, focus on making the process of getting the food to the plates, readying the table, and the actual eating relaxed.

The best principles for success here are the Three Rs (role modelling, rewarding, re-offering) which you can read about here.

But there is one more way you can serve for success, and that is giving your child a role. You don’t have to do this every time, just encourage them in their strengths through it when you can.

Here are some of our favourite ideas:

Design a menu

Come up with a silly name or story for a dish

Help with making a meal plan and choosing veg for dinners or snacks

Help to serve up the meal on dishes, lay the table or create a centrepiece to be involved in the physical ‘serving up’ process




The Wonderful World of Veg

Check out our vegepedia. When to buy in-season. How to store them to keep for longer. How to engage children with each veg, and simple ideas of how to prepare and cook them for maximum taste and minimum waste. Select a veg…

Follow on social media