Butternut is a staple in many South African households, especially during winter months. It is a versatile vegetable that adds a sweet taste to many a meal. Perhaps, what adds to the versatility and uniqueness of a butternut is that in theory it is classed as a fruit because it has seeds.

Here are 8 more reasons to go nutty for butternuts.

  1. Butternut is a tasty orange squash and can be used in a variety of recipe’s whether for lunch or dinner. Baked, roasted, or pureed butternuts are featured in soups, salads, quiche, roasts, risotto’s and even pizza to name a few.
  1. There are numerous health benefits related to butternuts who are low in calories but rich in nutrients. Butternuts are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6 as well as magnesium and potassium. High in antioxidant properties butternut helps to prevent and reduce a range of chronic illnesses.
  1. The fact that butternut is affordable and has a shelf life of up to 6 months makes it even more sought-after as an economical choice for South African kitchens. Because it is an inexpensive option that is available all year round it can be utilised in an array of delicious dishes especially stews and soup.
  1.  Having a zero-waste option is also a bonus because almost every part of the butternut is edible. The most popular part is the tasty bright coloured orange flesh, but the skin can also be roasted or fried while the seeds are rich in protein and can be roasted and added to any salad or soup.
  1. The growing period of butternuts is between 12-15 weeks before they are ready to be harvested. The ideal butternut, healthy and ready for harvest will have smooth skin with minimum blemishes and more flesh than seeds. The darker the orange of the flesh, the sweeter and creamier the flavour will be.
  1. Butternuts are part of the cucurbit family and in the Eastern Cape popular varieties farmed and harvested by Ncedisa include the Pluto and Arela butternuts.
  1. Ncedisa is part of the team that harvests about 3200 tons of butternut per season that are destined for local stores as well as international export. Eastern Cape harvested butternuts are available in stores nationwide and found in homes across the country.
  1. Extraordinary care and attention are applied when the Ncedisa team harvests the butternuts. Each butternut is individually examined and handpicked which is then followed by a detailed cleaning and sorting process.

The name ‘butternut’ originates from its interior buttery flesh and sweet nutty flavour. Perhaps we should not be surprised that the butternut is such a popular and delightful ingredient in so many recipes, after all, it’s all in the name.