Butternut, Acorn & Winter Squash for Baby Food – Introducing Squash to Baby: (4)6-8 months old
While the recommended age for starting solid foods is generally 6 months of age, many babies start solids between 4 and 6 months of age. These recipes are appropriate for this age range.
Winter Squash, like butternut squash and acorn squash, is a wonderful first food for your baby. High in Vitamins and Calcium – smooth, delicious and very nutritious, these winter squashes are sure to be a hit with your baby.
Just check out the amount of Vitamin A and Folate 1 cup of baked squash cubes contain: Folate – 57.40 mcg and Vitamin A – 7,291.85 mg.
When can I introduce Butternut Squash or Acorn Squash to my baby?
Squash may be offered as early as 4 – 6 months old. Butternut and acorn squash are wonderful additions to baby’s first foods. These winter veggies roast up to tasty flavorful perfection and blend and puree into as thin of a texture as you require.
The goodness of Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash, and other Winter Squash for baby food
As the nutritional content of Winter squash varies with the variety of squash, you will find a nutritional summary accounting for all varieties below:
Nutrition Facts (1 cup cooked-baked, butternut cubes)
Univ. of IL – Watch Your Garden
Calories – 79.95
Protein – 1.82 grams
Carbohydrate – 17.94 grams
Dietary Fiber – 5.74 grams
Calcium – 28.7 mg
Iron – 0.67 mg
Potassium – 895.85 mg
Folate – 57.40 mcg
Vitamin A – 1144 IU
How to select and store Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash and other Winter Squash for baby food
According to the EWG, winter squash such as butternut and acorn are not one of the “dirty dozen” foods that are most highly contaminated with pesticides. Hard rind or shelled fruits and veggies usually keep out any contaminants. Purchasing organic is a personal choice.
A squash is characterized as a “Winter” squash not only due to the season in which it grows, but also due to the way the squash itself grows. Winter squash actually mature on the vine and do not further mature or ripen once harvested. The rind or shell of a Winter squash is very hard and thick. Peak season for Winter squash is November through December.
Acorn and the Butternut are the best choices for baby’s first squash experience. Additional varieties of winter squash can be found below. These types of squash are best given to an infant between 6-8 months old. (If you start solids early at 4 months, winter squash is also appropriate.)
Butternut Squash: Butternut squash is light tan in color, and is bell-shaped or shaped like an elongated pear. Butternut squash has a deep orange flesh, and is loaded with a sweet, nutty flavor.
Acorn Squash: This squash is probably one of the most easily recognized and most often eaten. It does have an acorn shape to it, along with deep furrows. The acorn squash is typically a deep dark green, however there are some varsities that are yellow or orange. Regardless of the color of the acorn squash, the meat is sweet and yummy baked with brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon.
Hubbard Squash: You can’t miss a Hubbard. This squash is typically very large and looks like a misshapen teardrop. Bumpy and thick-skinned, it has a blue-gray or sometimes a sea green color. The flesh is rich and slightly sweeter than a banana squash.
Delicata Squash: You may know this squash as sweet potato or bohemian squash. It is a bit like an acorn squash in shape though more cylindrical, like a butternut. The shell of a Delicata is rather pretty; it is yellow with green stripes and reddish-brown spotting or spattering. The meat is a pale yellowish-orange and the taste is mild and a bit like corn.
The best way to store butternut squash, acorn squash or other winter squash for baby food
Winter squash typically may be stored for a long period of time. Depending on the variety, a winter squash such as the Butternut, may be stored for up to four months. Store your winter squash in a cool dry place for optimal storage times.
The best way to cook butternut squash, acorn squash and other winter squash for baby food
The best way to cook butternut squash, acorn squash and other winter squash for baby food recipes is to bake or roast the squash. You retain the most nutrients while bringing out the most flavor. Roasting or baking winter squash is also easier because you won’t spend forever and a day tying to peel and cube the squash for steaming or boiling.
How to bake or roast a butternut squash for baby food
Step 1: With a sharp kitchen knife, cut the butternut squash in half – lengthwise.
“I recently read about a great tip to help cut butternut squash (I haven’t tried acorn but also works well with small pumpkins). Place whole squash in the microwave and cook on high for about 2 minutes. This makes the initial cutting of the squash really easy.”
Step 2: Scoop out the seeds from the round end of the cut butternut squash
Step 3: Lay butternut squash “face” or meat-side down in a baking dish with about 1-2 inched of water.
Step 4: Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes or until shell/skin looks puckery and turns a darker tan.
From here, you’re ready to make a variety of purees, below.
Enjoy these butternut squash baby food recipes, acorn squash and other winter squash baby food recipes
Butternut or Acorn Squash – Basic Purée (4)6 months+
- 1 acorn or butternut squash
- Follow directions as to how to bake or roast a butternut squash for baby food above.
Step 1: Place squash “meat” into your choice of appliance for pureeing and begin pureeing.
Step 2: Add water as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency.
You can also peel the squash, scoop out the seeds and then cut into chunks and boil/steam until tender (like when boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes) then follow steps 4 and 5 – this way is most difficult however and rather time consuming.
Photos: Chelsea Foy
Rice with Apple and Butternut Squash Purée – (4)6 months+
- 1 squash – acorn, butternut or other winter squash
- 1 or 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup applesauce
Step 1: Cut acorn or butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds
Step 2: Place halves face down in a pan and cover with an inch of water
Step 3: Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until the “shell/skin” puckers and halves feel soft then scoop squash “meat” out of the shell
Step 4: Place squash “meat” into your choice of appliance for pureeing
Step 5: Add cooked rice and applesauce and blend
Step 6: Add water as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency
Baby’s Acorn Squash & Apple Bake – 6-8 months+
- 1 acorn squash
- 2 or 3 Macintosh apples
- pinch of cinnamon
Step 1: Peel and dice apples
Step 2: Cut acorn or butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds
Step 3: Place halves face UP in a pan and add with an inch of water to the pan
Step 4: Place diced apples in the squash “holes” where the seeds were
Step 5: Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired
Step 6: Pour water over the apples so that there is water in the squash holes – cover pan with tinfoil
Step 7: Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until the “shell/skin” puckers and halves feel soft then scoop squash “meat” and apples out of the shell
Step 8: Puree as needed, adding water to thin if required. You may also chop or dice and serve as a finger food meal.
Squash & Rice “Soup” 6 months+
- 1 cup cooked mashed butternut squash (works well with pumpkin too.)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
- dollop whole milk yogurt (optional for 8 months+)
Step 1: Mash squash with the water in a food processor or blender and slowly mix in the brown rice.
Step 2: Process to a consistency that your baby enjoys and can handle then stir in the yogurt
Butternut Squash Baby Food Recipes – Baked Acorn Squash Bowls
This is a great way to get baby interested in self-feeding; plop down the whole squash bowl and let him chow down (under strict supervision of course and ensuring that he is ready to dive in like this!)
- 1 acorn or butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons applesauce
- handful of raisins
- cinnamon (as you prefer)
- ginger (as you prefer)
- nutmeg (as you prefer)
Step 1: Cut acorn or butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds
Step 2: Wipe insides with butter or olive oil and add raisins and applesauce
Step 3: Add 2 inches of water to a baking pan
Step 4: Place halves face up with shell down in a pan
Step 5: Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until the “shell/skin” puckers and halves feel soft.
Step 6: Serve as is in the shell to older toddlers (our kids LOVE this in the shell.) or scoop out the meat and mash then serve.
Savory Butternut Squash & Potato Puree (or Mash) 6 months+
- 1 2-3 lb. butternut or acorn squash – you may use any winter squash for this dish.
- 1 lb. potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 cup heavy cream or half and half – 1 cup whole milk yogurt will work as well <optional for 8 months+>
- 2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
- 1/4 c. finely chopped fresh chives
- salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (omit salt for babies.)
Step 1: Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
Step 2: Peel the shell and cut the squash into 3-inch dices.
Step 3: Place squash and potatoes in a large saucepan and fill with water and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil and cook until both the squash and potatoes are fork-tender (30-40 minutes).
Step 4: Drain liquid (reserving about 1 cup) and add in cream or yogurt and butter.
Step 5: Using a potato masher, mash well or puree if desired for your baby’s texture preferences; adding cooking liquid if you want it a bit thinner consistency.
Step 6: Add chives and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Squash Soup** 8 months+ (due to spices)
- 1 1/2 lb winter squash chopped or 2-12oz pkgs frozen (thawed)
- 1 small onion *
- 1 teaspoon curry powder*
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric*
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper *
- 2 cups chicken broth (use no sodium/low-fat or Make Your Own Stock and Broth)
- 1/4 cup sour cream *
Step 1: Saute Onions then combine squash, onion and spices.. cook on low for 10 minutes.. stir in broth and cook another 15 minutes.
Step 2: Cool Slightly and pour 1/3 into blender and blend until smooth, repeating until all of the mixture is blended .. reheat soup before serving and swirl in some sour cream. 4 thumbs up from my twins.
** Please note that you may leave out the * items as needed for your baby’s age and preferences. I like to keep the onion, replace the spices with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and also use plain yogurt instead of sour cream.**
Baby’s Stuffed Acorn Squash – MEATLESS 8 months +
- 2 acorn squash
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 1 medium tart apple, peeled, cored and diced
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (we leave out the mushrooms.)
- 1/2 celery stalk, diced
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 2 cups cooked whole-grain rice (orzo or couscous are nice as well.)
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup apple cider (or juice)
Step 1: Cut each squash lengthwise in half and scoop out seeds.
Step 2: Place squash halves, cut side down, in baking dish with 1-2 inches of water. Bake for 45 minutes or until shell/skin puckers and squash is soft. Let cool.
Step 3: In a medium skillet, sauté apples, onion, mushrooms, celery for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle thyme, oregano and sage. Stir in cooked rice, apricots and raisins. Add apple cider, cook until apple cider is almost evaporated.
Step 4: Place cooled squash on a large nonstick cookie sheet. Spoon stuffing into squash cavities. Bake for additional 20 minutes.
Step 5: Serve blended and chopped by scooping out the squash & stuffing from the shell and transferring to a blender or food processor. To serve “in the bowl” for older toddlers, gently scrape the squash form the shell so that it falls into the middle with the stuffing and then mash a bit with a fork. Adults may be served as is.
Foods good to mix with Butternut or Acorn Squash:
- Brown Rice
Resources & Learning More:
- Watch Your Garden Grow – Univ. of IL Extension
- Tony Tantillo – Vegetables
- ABQ Journal – Winter Squash
- VegWeb Squash Recipes
Visit the Quick Start to Homemade Baby Food page