THE POTENTIALS OF BUTTERNUT SQUASH AS FOOD

ABSTRACT
A survey was conducted to find the knowledge gap pertaining to butternut squash. The result obtained revealed consumers are not abreast with the nutritive value of butternut squash. Butternut squash cakes with either reduced sugar, margarine or flour was compared with rich cake without butternut squash.
Proximate and sensory analyses showed that there were significant differences (p < 0.05) in the values of moisture, ash, fat, carbohydrate, crude fibre, energy, calcium, magnesium and potassium of the butternut squash cakes and the rich cakes.
However, no significant differences (p > 0.05) were recorded in the values of protein and sodium.

The reduced flour butternut squash cake had the best sensory qualities and was the most preferred in terms of sweetness, aroma, firmness, colour, moistness and texture. The next to it was the reduced sugar butternut squash cake. From the results obtained, reducing the quantity of either flour or sugar in rich cake making and replacing them with butternut squash can be an innovative method of producing quality and more nutritious cakes with low calories.


CHAPTER ONE
1.0. GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1. Background
Nutrients are substances used by organism to survive, grow, and reproduce. In humans the main nutrients used for life processes are carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. These are obtained from animal and plant sources. Vegetables are part of a category of plant food sources which provide a variety of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fibre, protein, fat as well as water of which are essential for human development, maintenance, repair and protection. Consumption of vegetables and fruits play a positive role in the prevention of obesity, heart diseases, stroke, cancer and other chronic diseases (Boffeta et al, 2010). In Ghana, there are several traditional vegetables and as well imported vegetables, they include garden eggs, okro, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, spring onions, lettuce, cabbage, etc.

Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata) also known as ‘butternut pumpkin’ is a fruit vegetable from the family cucurbitaceae and genus cucurbita. It is a fast growing vine that creeps along the surface in a similar fashion as that of other cucurbitaceae family of vegetables and fruits like pumpkin, cucumber, cantaloupes and others. This widely grown vegetable is very rich in vitamin A, C, B6 and good source of minerals like potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium which are very necessary for normal life processes. Aside these nutrients, this vegetable produces a considerable amount of carbohydrate, dietary fibre, iron and protein (Stewart, 2008).

Butternut squash is a multi-faceted vegetable which can also serve as an ornamental or decorative cucurbits aside it’s nutritional and health benefits. According to Wikipedia (2018), farm entertainment sector or business has created a niche for the patronage of decorative or ornamental cucurbits: the sizes, shapes, patterns, radiating colours of cucurbits fulfil its ornamental purposes. Winter squash or butternut squash present a lot of opportunities in current dispensation to farmers or growers. Preferred varieties are cultivated for the purpose of commercial canning and serving of other purposes. In advanced countries like the United State, there is buoyant market for ornamentals in entertainment farming. In the class of cucurbits, butternut squash and pumpkins are very strong and resistant to diseases and insects. Pumpkin and butternut squash are good sources of β-carotene for human consumption.

Ghana in recent times has embarked on the production and exports of cucurbits because of the global trend in this sector. The astronomical demand for cucurbits both locally and internationally has boosted the investment in butternut squash in Ghana (Gyamena, 2013). The investment and production of cucurbits has gained popularity in Ghana. The production and cultivation of cucurbits can be done throughout all seasons in Ghana. Other varieties of cucurbits can even survive during dry seasons or in seasons with limited moisture content in the soil (Gyamena, 2013). In exercising their mandatory roles, the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) and Ghana’s Export Promotion Council have collaborated to introduce butternut squash as a new export commodity from Ghana ( Gyamena, 2013). EDAIF has invested an amount of GH₵ 37,000 which is equivalent USD 18,439.7 in the production and export of cucurbit specifically butternut to the United Kingdom (GNA, 2012). For the purpose of poverty alleviation and betterment of livelihood, international organizations such as International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other farmers’ associations such as the Northern Rural Growth Programme have financed the production and growing of cucurbits, particularly butternut squash. This was to encourage farmers in the northern part of Ghana to help improve their standard of living (GNA, 2012; IFAD, 2012). Through social intervention programmes, the Government of Ghana through the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) has invested an amount of GH₵ 50 Million in the production of butternut squash in the three Northern regions (Ghana Gov, 2012; GNA, 2012; GBN, 2011; GNA, 2011).

1.2. Statement of Problem
Butternut squash is a versatile fruit vegetable which is grown both locally and internationally. Though it has been used for centuries in Europe and Asia, this cannot be said of it in Ghana. In spite of it being a rich source of vitamins and minerals, it is mostly neglected to be used as food. More to its nutritional benefits, its bulky nature enhances satiety and it is very cheap to buy which can be a source of food security. There is therefore a need to create awareness of the food potentials of Butternut squash. To enhance its use as food, butternut squash could be incorporated into common foods that are readily consumed to ensure food quality.

1.3. Main Goal
To ascertain the potentials of Butternut squash as food.

1.4. Specific Objectives
Specifically;

To document the knowledge gap pertaining to butternut squash.

To incorporate Butternut squash into different types of cakes

To assess the sensory and basic nutritional profile of the cake 3

1.5. Justification of Project
Butternut squash is rarely used in most Ghanaian homes. The very few people who consume it also use it as an alternate vegetable when some preferred vegetables are unavailable. Butternut squash is an excellent source of vitamin A and carotenoids which when utilized could contribute to enhancing ocular health of its consumers. Though many vegetables and fruits have vitamin C, exposure to atmospheric oxygen and heat have been noted degrade it. However, the vitamin C retention in butternut squash after cooking is unusually high as compared to other vegetables which makes it unique.

These qualities together with others call for the need to make known the usefulness of this important vegetable. In making its consumption more enhanced, a food to consider for its incorporation should be very popular and highly preferred by consumers; cakes satisfy this description. The incorporation of Butternut squash into cakes will not only enhance its use, it will as well increase the nutritional characteristics of cakes.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Project Material  |  Attribute: 49 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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