Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'
Ripe butternut squash
SpeciesCucurbita moschata
Hybrid parentage'Gooseneck squash' × 'Hubbard squash'
BreederCharles Leggett
Origin1940s in Stow, Massachusetts, United States

Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata), known in Australia and New Zealand as butternut pumpkin or gramma,[1] is a type of winter squash that grows on a vine. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It has tan-yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp with a compartment of seeds in the blossom end. When ripening, the flesh turns increasingly deep orange due to its rich content of beta-carotene, a provitamin A compound.[2]

Although botanically a fruit (specifically, a berry), butternut squash is used culinarily as a vegetable that can be roasted, sautéed, puréed for soups such as squash soup, or mashed to be used in casseroles, breads, muffins, and pies. It is part of the same squash family as ponca, waltham, pumpkin, and calabaza.[3]

Butternut squash, baked
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy167 kJ (40 kcal)
10.5 g
Dietary fiber3.2 g
0.1 g
0.9 g
Vitamin A equiv.
558 μg
4570 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.07 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.017 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.98 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.36 mg
Vitamin B6
0.124 mg
Folate (B9)
19 μg
Vitamin C
15 mg
Vitamin E
1.29 mg
41 mg
0.6 mg
29 mg
0.17 mg
27 mg
284 mg
0.13 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water87.8 g

Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[4] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[5]


The word squash comes from the Narragansett word askutasquash, meaning "eaten raw or uncooked",[6][7] and butternut from the squash's nutty flavor. Although American native peoples may have eaten some forms of squash without cooking, today most squash is eaten cooked.[7]

Before the arrival of Europeans, C. moschata had been carried over all parts of North America where it could be grown,[7] but butternut squash is a modern variety of winter squash. It was developed by Charles Leggett of Stow, Massachusetts, in 1944 who crossed pumpkin and gooseneck squash varieties.[8]


Baked butternut squash is 88% water, 11% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and contains negligible fat (table). In a reference amount of 100 grams (3.5 oz), it supplies 167 kilojoules (40 kilocalories) of food energy, and is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin A (70% DV), with moderate amounts of vitamin C (18% DV) and vitamin B6 (10% DV) (table).


Butternut squash cut lengthwise showing seeds


The optimal eating period of butternut squash is 3-6 months after harvest.[9] They are best kept at 10 °C (50 °F) with 50 percent humidity.[10] For the best flavor, butternut squash should be left to cure for 2 months after harvest.[9]


One of the most common ways to prepare butternut squash is baking. Once cooked, it can be eaten in a variety of ways. The fruit is prepared by removing the skin, stalk, and seeds, which are not usually eaten or cooked.[11] However, the seeds are edible, either raw or roasted, and the skin is also edible and softens when roasted. The seeds can even be roasted and pressed into an oil to create butternut squash seed oil. This oil can be used for roasting, cooking, on popcorn, or as a salad dressing.[12]

In Australia, it is regarded as a pumpkin, and is used interchangeably with other types of pumpkin.[13]

In South Africa, butternut squash is commonly used and often prepared as a soup or grilled whole. Grilled butternut is typically seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon or stuffed (e.g., spinach and feta) before being wrapped in foil and grilled. Grilled butternut is often served as a side dish to braais (barbecues) and the soup as a starter dish.[citation needed]

Butternuts were introduced commercially in New Zealand in the 1950s by brothers Arthur and David Harrison, nursery workers, and Otaki market gardeners.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ "Commercial production of pumpkins and grammas". Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Top 5 health benefits of butternut squash". BBC Good Food. Retrieved 14 March 2024.
  3. ^ GourmetSleuth. "Butternut Squash". Gourmet Sleuth. Archived from the original on 28 November 2022. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  4. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  5. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154.
  6. ^ "How Did the Squash Get its Name?". Library of Congress. Retrieved 15 July 2022.
  7. ^ a b c Victor E. Boswell and Else Bostelmann. "Our Vegetable Travelers." The National Geographic Magazine. 96.2: August 1949.
  8. ^ Spitza, Ashleigh; Sentinel, Milwaukee Journal (8 November 2017). "Butternut squash a brilliant choice for color and nutrition". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Curing & Storage Chart for Winter Squash | Johnny's Selected Seeds". Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  10. ^ Munro, Derek B.; Small, Ernest (1997). Vegetables of Canada. NRC Research Press. p. 179. ISBN 9780660195032. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  11. ^ "Butternut Squash". Veg Box Recipes. 2008. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  12. ^ Bilow, Rochelle. "Butternut Squash Seed Oil Is Exactly What Your Pantry Has Been Missing". Bon Appétit. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  13. ^ "The strange history of the butternut". Farmer's Weekly. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2020.