We had some really nasty thunderstorms come through Friday night, but once those passed, we had the most glorious of glorious Fall weekends. Granted, I didn’t really get to experience it because I was inside painting all weekend, but still, it was everything Fall weather is supposed to be. Cool, breezy, low-humidity and perfect for chowing down on some hearty, filling, stick-to-your-ribs stew.
I know a lot of folks get psyched for pumpkin in the fall, and while I’m definitely a pumpkin fan, butternut squash is my absolute favorite of the winter squashes. You can do some crazy nutritious, crazy delicious things with the ole b-nut (like this and this and this). And while the taste and versatility of butternut squash is stupendous, my favorite part of it is how well it stores. Right now is the time to snag some cheap butternuts at your local farmer’s market or farm stand to stockpile for winter. Pick squash without any blemishes or spots, let them cure outside in a well-ventilated area for a few days and then stash them in a cool dark spot for the rest of the winter. If you’re feeling particularly hardcore, you can wipe down the outsides of the squash with a 10:1 water to bleach solution to kill any bacteria before storing. But even with that extra step, that’s it. That’s all you have to do and you can eat on butternut squash for months and months.
Also, side note, if you are planning your 2013 garden, plan on planting some butternuts. They are crazy easy to grow and we’ve gotten upwards of 8-10 squash out of each plant. We even grew them on our apartment patio last year in a pot!
Normally “the man” suggests you use your squash within a few months of curing, but I used squash from our garden last summer in this recipe and they were just as flavorful, just as firm and just as orange as if we’d picked them that day. Butternut squash are storage rockstars.
I think the nutritional benefits of this stew pretty much speak for themselves. Basically, you’d be hard-pressed to find a healthier bowl to enjoy for lunch or dinner. A boatload of veggies, beans, and whole grains all provide enough nutrients, fiber, protein and minerals to make this one super stew. It’s delicious. And it’s good for you. That rocks.