Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How to Prepare a Butternut Squash

I use butternut squash a lot. It is yummy, versatile, adds some carbs to my meals, and looks pretty :)

Winter squash isn’t easy to prepare, however. The usual recommendation is to cut in half lengthwise and bake, and then, after baking, scoop out the softened flesh. I did this a couple times, but it is so hard to cut it that way, and there as all the effort of scooping it out afterward. The method below seems much easier.

First, peel of the thick outer skin. A regular peeler will do fine.

Discard the stem into your compost as well, then cut width-wise into chunks. Rocking the knife back and forth along with the squash seems to work well. Sometimes it requires a bit of pounding too. Use your biggest knife and enjoy it!

Scoop out seeds with a grapefruit spoon (the kind with ridges) and put the mushy stuff in your compost. The seeds go into a bowl to soak overnight before toasting.

Put all the chunks into a baking dish, fill with an inch of filtered water and cover with foil. Bake at 450º for 45 minutes to an hour. Longer makes it softer and sweeter, but you may want it less cooked for adding to soup or just your taste preference.

You can also eat it raw - shredded on salads is yummy!

Update 8/2/10: You can also just boil it it on the stove - add enough filtered water to almost cover it, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until soft, stirring once or twice. Then drain off the liquid carefully in a fine mesh strainer or some other method and use in your recipes.

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