A Well-Rounded Squash: The Butternuts
Autumn without butternut squash is like foliage without color. T’is the season to be enjoying this versatile, curvaceous squash. At High Mowing, we sell three varieties of butternut squash - you may have grown one or more of them this year. If you did, we would love to know how they did for you. If not, read on – and you just might be inspired to add to your planting list for next season!
Honey Nut is our butternut with the most pizzazz – its diminutive size, caramel colored skin and bright orange interior flesh makes for a striking and unique squash. We’ve offered this variety since 2009 and have fallen more in love with it each year. At 4-5” long, this adorable butternut is the ideal size for a single serving or a side dish for two: very easy to peel, or just halve and bake! Its gorgeous skin color makes this variety much more vibrant than the standard butternut buff. Honey Nut originates from the Vegetable Breeding Institute, a partnership between Cornell University and University of Wisconsin-Madison which develops improved and exciting new vegetable varieties. Our seed is produced here at the High Mowing Organic Seeds production farm in Wolcott, Vermont. It is important to note that this is our latest butternut variety at 110 days, which can be a challenge in short growing seasons. At its young stage, the fruit is dark green; ripe fruit takes on the characteristic caramel color. Timely ripening of the fruit is aided by warm weather conditions. Honey Nut has moderate to high tolerance to Powdery Mildew.
Nutterbutter is our early butternut at 95 days, and was developed here at High Mowing by Dr. Jodi Lew-Smith, Director of Research and Production. This early variety can be harvested ahead of most other varieties. In our High Mowing breeding program, this variety was selected for high brix (sugars) levels, good flavor and medium size. Fruits weigh around 2.5 pounds and measure an average of 4” wide by 7” tall. Compared to Waltham, Nutterbutter is smaller and tends towards a more slender shape. Nutterbutter has moderate tolerance to Powdery Mildew. We grow this variety for seed at our production farm in Wolcott, Vermont.
Waltham butternut is a standard variety, widely grown and well-loved. It is the largest of our three butternut varieties. The fruit weighs three to six pounds and measures an average of 5” wide by 8” tall. Our High Mowing strain of Waltham was selected on our seed farm for uniformity, disease resistance and high yields. This award-winning variety (All American Selection in 1970) is named for Waltham, Massachusettes where it was bred and selected by Bob Young.
As a category, butternuts are versatile in the kitchen with easy to peel skin, smooth flesh and sweet flavor. They make delicious soups, are smooth and creamy when roasted, and ideal for baking. Butternuts are excellent keepers but will lose their storage capacity if exposed to frost, which will create soft spots on the fruit and lead to spoilage. Before storing, allow harvested fruit to cure in a warm (around 70 degrees), dry location with good air circulation for one to two weeks. Store at 50-60 degrees for the optimum storage and use for and if the squash starts to go by, just cook, purée, and freeze!