Butternut squash chips are a nutritious alternative to potato chips. They capture the sweet, nutty flavor of butternut squash and are a creative way to sneak a few extra vitamins into one’s diet. Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that produces abundant fruit from vibrant yellow flowers. These chips are just one of the many ways that butternut squash can be prepared; it also can be baked, puréed, used in soup or used with pasta, such as in butternut squash ravioli.
This type of squash is a variety of Curcurbita moschata; pumpkin and calabaza are close relatives of butternut squash. Butternut squash fruits form from individual flowers on the vine so that one butternut squash plant might easily produce 20 or more fruits. When mature, butternut squash are orange-tan in color, weigh 2-3 pounds (0.9-1.4 kg) each and are about 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) in length.
Such a productive plant presents a challenge to its growers as to how to consume its fruit without any of it going to waste. Even though butternut squash can last as long as three months after maturing if it is stored in a cool, dry place, eating all of the fruit can be difficult. One common way of preparing butternut squash is cutting the fruit in half, scooping out the seeds in the bulb-like base, adding brown sugar and butter and baking it in the oven until it is soft. Other preparation methods include scooping out the inner flesh and mashing it or puréeing it and using the resultant mixtures in soups or as filling for pastas.
A less well-known yet equally appealing way of preparing this squash is making butternut squash chips. To make butternut squash chips, a person should cut off the bulb end of the squash, peel off the skin and cut the inner flesh into 3-inch (7.6-cm) chunks. These chunks are then cut into thin slices, sometimes using a device called a mandoline. The slices are then boiled in water, transferred to ice water for 15 minutes, then placed on paper towels to dry.
The butternut squash chips are then placed on a baking sheet, and seasonings such as olive oil, salt and herbs are added. They are then baked until they are crispy and lightly browned. They can be served after being allowed to cool slightly.
Butternut squash chips are rich in vitamins A, C, B6 and B12. They also are an excellent source of dietary fiber and are low in calories. Butternut squash with deep orange inner flesh are also rich in beta carotene.