Dirt Candy

April 3, 2011

Author Notes: A few years ago, a New York restaurant opened called Dirt Candy, a reference to vegetables. I always loved this name. Then our first intern at food52, Helen -- you remember Helen! -- showed me how to make real candy out of dirt candy.

Dirt candy was a trick Helen learned while working as a cook at Prune in New York City. There, they would cut butternut squash into tiny cubes, shower it with sugar and let it sit for a few days.

Indeed, as Helen showed us, over the course of a few days the tiny cubes let go of their moisture and raw flavor and shrunk, yet retained their crisp snap.

I've tried the recipe with both raw and white sugar. Conventional white works best. I've also extended the trick to beets and carrots, which work well, although the butternut squash sweeps the dirt candy field.
Amanda Hesser

Makes: 1 cup


  • 1 cup butternut squash cubes (1/4-inch)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
In This Recipe


  1. Combine the butternut squash and sugar in a bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes. Mix again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 days, stirring once a day. Taste and decide when it's ready. Enjoy your candy!

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