Step 1: Select & Buy Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is pure and simple, with a sweet, nutty flavor. When roasted, it takes on a velvety texture. Like sweet potato puree, butternut squash puree is the ideal compliment to a variety of other veggies, fruits, and meats. Peak growing season is early fall through winter. Look for butternut squash that is firm and free of cracks, bruises, or soft spots. If purchasing a package of peeled, cut butternut squash, choose squash with a deep orange color (the deeper the color, the riper and sweeter it is). A roasted 1.6-pound butternut squash yields about 14 ounces of puree.
Rinse the butternut squash in cold water, scrubbing the skin with a small vegetable brush to remove dirt. If you've purchased pre-peeled and cut butternut squash, place in a colander and rinse with cold water.
Whole squash: Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise (leave skin on). Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Place squash on a baking sheet that has been brushed with a bit of olive oil and roast at 400?F. Check the squash after 30 minutes to see if it is soft and can be easily scooped with a spoon. If not, keep adding 5 minutes of roasting time until it is. Remove squash from oven and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Allow it to cool.
Peeled and cut squash: Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the squash pieces and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse squash under cool water to stop the cooking process.
Puree butternut squash in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add water as needed to reach the desired consistency. Once baby is ready for finger foods, typically around 10 months, you can serve her butternut squash that's been cooked and cut into tiny pieces.
Butternut squash is very mild—ideal as a first veggie by itself—or mixed with other veggies, fruits, meats, and spices. Try mixing butternut squash puree with:
Cool butternut squash puree and refrigerate leftovers in BPA-free containers for up to 3 days. Freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in your refrigerator.
Note: Always check with your pediatrician before introducing your baby to a new food, particularly if your baby has food allergies. Additionally, some pediatricians do not recommend making your own carrot, beet, or spinach puree because these fresh veggies can be higher in nitrates.