Butternut squash is an orange winter squash. It is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, like fiber and vitamin A. Unfortunately, the butternut squash has been known to cause an allergic skin reaction in some people. This is contact dermatitis, and is usually contracted while preparing the squash to cook, when the skin of the squash is cut and exposed to the skin of the hands of the person preparing it. Contact dermatitis does not signify a food allergy and can be prevented by wearing latex gloves during preparation.

Butternut squash can be baked in many ways, but here are a few classic butternut squash recipes.

Preparing the squash:

First, with all butternut squash recipes, you must prepare the squash. Wash the outside well, remove the end of the stalk that is left on the top of the squash, then cut the squash open length-wise. This is not an easy task as the squash is very hard to cut through. To help make cutting the squash easier, try microwaving the squash for three minutes to help soften it. Once it is open, scoop out the seeds, which can either be discarded or saved for roasting and eating. If the recipe calls for skinning the squash, do so now.

Roasting the squash:

This is the most popular way to bake butternut squash. After cutting the squash in half, light brush each side with cooking oil. Place the halves on a cooking sheet, cut side down, and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

There are many variations to this recipe. Try drizzling the two sides, cut side up now, with orange juice and cinnamon. After they are cooked, you can add maple syrup for a really delicious dish.

Another simple variation is to use butter instead of cooking oil, and sprinkle brown sugar over the squash. For this one, you will again bake it cut side up.

If you are not looking for a sweet butternut squash recipe, try this one:

Cut the butternut squash into cubes after preparing it as described above. Place the cubes in a large mixing bowl. Add one tablespoon of oil, two cloves of minced garlic, and half a cup fresh, chopped cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss it all to coat the squash in oil. Place the mixture in a baking pan and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Squash can also be used to make delicious soups and pies. Visit this site for more recipes, including a beautiful squash bread: All Recipes: Butternut Squash.

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