Some may feel intimidated to cook butternut squash because they’re not exactly easy to peel and cut, that is if you don’t know the trick. But it’s actually very simple as will be shown in this guide. There are many ways to cook butternut squash. You can roast them, bake, or even just toss them in the microwave. These cooking techniques apply to several recipes but we will show you the basics of cooking this delicious vegetable.
How to Choose the Perfect Butternut Squash
Before we get cooking, it’s important that you select a good butternut squash so that it tastes and cooks perfectly. Butternut squash is a common winter squash and you start seeing it in the grocery stores and markets during the fall. It has a pin shape and is firm to the touch. It has a dense flesh that doesn’t easily soften so it’s great to give it a creamy mixture for mashing. Its deep orange flesh is a great source of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamins C and B6, as well as potassium.
When choosing your butternut squash to cook butternut squash, look for one that feels dense and heavy. It should have no blemishes as much as possible or soft spots. Check that the skin is uniform and flat. Don’t choose the ones that are glossy. Your squash should no cracks and its stem should still be attached because this helps the flesh from drying out. This is important if you are not planning to cook butternut squash right away.
How to Store Butternut Squash
You need to store your butternut squash in a cool and dry place between 50 degrees to 60 degrees Fahrenheit if you want it to last for several months. Do not store the squash beside apples, pears, onions, or potatoes. These foods tend to release ethylene gas which tends to spoil the squash. When you’ve cut your butternut squash when you’re ready to cook butternut squash, wrap the pieces in plastic and refrigerate them so they will last several days.
Preparing Butternut Squash
Here are the right steps when preparing your butternut squash before you cook butternut squash.
First, you need to rinse the squash thoroughly by running it under cool tap water. Scrub it with a clean produce brush.
Next, you need to cut and seed the butternut squash to get ready to cook butternut squash. Using a large chef’s knife, cut off the stem end of the squash and do it lengthwise through the neck. Work your way down through the bottom. Then, use a large spoon to remove the seeds along with the fibrous materials from both the halves of the squash. After this, you are ready to bake or microwave your squash.
If you need your squash to be peeled or cubed for certain recipes, you need to peel it before cutting. Cut the squash in half and peel each half using a sturdy vegetable peeler. Cut off long strips of peel and make sure to cut it away from you. You can now cut them into cubes or slices to cook butternut squash.
Ways to Cook Butternut Squash
Here are the basic ways you can cook butternut squash in your own kitchen.
Baking butternut squash is one of the most common ways to cook butternut squash. Bake it in the oven if you prefer to serve them mashed or you can enjoy a single serving by eating it with a spoon.
First, clean the squash and cut it in half then remove the seeds. Place the halves with the cut sides down on a baking dish. You can also use a foil-lined pan.
Bake the squash in a 350 degrees oven from 45 to 50 minutes or until they are tender. You can check the doneness by piercing the squash with the tip of a sharp knife. If it slides in easily, it’s properly cooked.
Turn the halves over and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. You can then add butter, salt and pepper, and other seasonings according to your preferences. Mash them if you want.
The simplest way to cook butternut squash is by microwaving them. This is a quick way to cook butternut squash and you can save more than half an hour of cooking.
Clean your squash and cut it in half. Remove the seeds. Place the halves with the cut sides down in a baking dish. You can add 2 tablespoons of water then cover it up with a plastic wrap. Microwave it on high for 9 to 12 minutes. You can rearrange them at least once until they are tender.
Carefully turn them over and scoop out the flesh. Season as necessary.
When you roast butternut squash, the exterior caramelizes so they get moist and tender inside. You can toss the roasted squash into your favorite soups and salads. You can even add them as toppings on pizzas. They’re also delicious fillings for omelets, quesadillas, and sandwiches. Or you can simply have them as a side dish.
To cook butternut squash by roasting, clean it as usual and cut it in half. Remove the seeds. You have to peel the squash and cut it into 1-inch cubes or half-inch slices. Toss them with some olive oil to coat and prevent them from drying while being roasted. Spread the pieces in an even layer on a foil-lined baking pan. Season with salt and pepper.
Now you can roast the squash in a 450-degree oven. Place them uncovered and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until they are tender. They should be brown on the edges once done. Stir it at least once in the middle of roasting.
These are the basic ways to cook butternut squash. There are plenty of more complicated recipes out there and of course, you can always experiment on your own and add your own touch depending on your taste and preferences. Butternut squash is a great side dish to your favorite meals or you can always enjoy them on their own.