Help for the Squash-Challenged!
Have no fear! I, too, felt daunted by winter squash of all kinds. Oh, the time and effort and pre-planning required to use it. And it is SO freakin' hard (sometimes dangerous!) to cut! And how to use it?? Well, fear no more: here’s the super-duper, easy way to start dealing with those fabulous squashes….
Microwave it! Simple and fast, nuking squash essentially steams it in anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes…alleviating that need to pre-plan and have the oven on for an hour.
NOTE: This works with ALL kinds of winter squash: butternut, acorn, spaghetti, delicata; whatever you like...it's just the time it takes which makes a difference.
Here’s the steps:
1. Wash the squash and poke a bunch of holes in it with a fork (make sure to go through to the center)
2. Put the squash on a plate in the microwave and cook on high. (3 minutes for a larger heftier squash, 1.5 minutes for a smaller individual like a Delicata squash)
3. Flip the squash over and repeat.
4. Check for tenderness with a fork. The squash is done when a fork slides easily into it in all areas. If that’s not happening yet, continue to flip and nuke the squash for a few minutes until it does. (Delicata squash are usually done already at this point)
5. Allow to cool (or use caution when handling)
6. Easily slice off the ends, cut the squash down the middle, and scoop out the see cavity.
7. Scoop out the tender cooked squash, and do with it what you will! Note: Delicata squash skins are super-tender and edible, so you can just cut and eat them, skin and all, once you’ve removed the seeds.
Here’s some ideas for your cooked squash:
- add butter and seasoning you like and just start eating!
- cook up a bunch of squash and freeze them as chunks. Then, whenever you're in the mood for some squashy-goodness, just thaw and use!
- make it into soup. Sure, you could cook the squash as part of the soup-making process. But having the squash pre-cooked makes soup-making much faster (plus you don't have the dangerous hand-slicing-threatening need to peel, de-seed, and cube the squash beforehand.
- get creative! In my case, I used this squash to make fritters of a sort. I mixed the squash with eggs, added some sweet corn, seasoned it with curry, cumin, salt, and pepper, fried it up and topped it off with a dab of Asian pear butter. Yum! (PS. gotta get me some of that again tonight)
- You name it!