Roasted Butternut SquashEvery season offers something new from God’s great earth. During the fall and winter, farmers markets and grocery stores are teeming with winter squash. Some of the popular varieties are butternut, acorn, Hubbard, turban and spaghetti.

Winter squash should be firm and heavy for their size. They will keep for up to three months, depending on the variety. Store them in a dark, dry location where the temperatures are between 50 and 60 degrees. Don’t store them in the refrigerator, unless they have been cut.

Butternut squash lend a rich, hearty flavor to fall dishes. It can be roasted, pureed into soup, cubed and tossed onto salads and used in lasagna. Butternut squash makes a delicious side dish. It pairs well with poultry, pork, beef, lamb and even seafood.

Butternut squash can be a little difficult to peel but don’t let that keep you from enjoying this delicious vegetable. A y-shaped vegetable peeler works pretty well.

Winter squash are high in vitamin A, which is important for eyes and healthy skin. They also contain loads of vitamin C, which helps wounds heal and helps the body resist infection. Butternut and other winter squash are also high in potassium, which keep your muscles and nervous system working properly. They are also good sources of folate, which assists in the production of new cells. Folate is important for pregnant women.

Here is a simple, easy, delicious butternut squash recipe.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Dried Cranberries

1 butternut squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

½ cup dried cranberries

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cube squash. Toss with olive oil and maple syrup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put into a large iron skillet and roast for about 20 minutes. Add the dried cranberries and stir. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until squash is tender and lightly browned. Serves 4.