Knowing how to cook butternut squash will allow your family to have a delicious side dish that is low in fat and rich in vitamins C and A, iron, riboflavin and protein. Butternut squash is considered a winter squash and when choosing one, look for a squash that has few blemishes, no spots of mold and feels heavy when lifted.
Butternut squash belongs to the family of gourds. It is thought that as far back as 5500 BC, Mexican natives were eating squash. The color can range from light tan to hues of yellow. It typically is 8 to 12 inches in length and approximately 3 to 5 inches thick. It can weigh as much as three pounds. The flavor of is sweet and the flesh inside is usually orange in color. It can be found in markets during the early part of autumn into the winter months.
Because the skin is thick and hard, it stores longer than summer varieties of squash. You can keep it as long as 30 days if you store it in a cool, dry area.
Methods of Cooking
Butternut squash can be prepared in a variety of ways. Before you begin any method of cooking squash you will first need to cut it lengthwise after you rinse it. Get rid of the excess fibers and discard the seeds. If you'd like, you may peel it as well.
If you are going to stir fry, cut into chunks and when they are tender when you pierce with a fork, it means they are done. When baking with a roast, add to baking pan during the last 30-45 minutes of cooking time and baste with juices leaving squash uncovered. Oven temperature should be at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
For a quick side dish you can microwave it one half at a time on high for 10 to 12 minutes. Those that wish to boil squash like potatoes can cut and cube it and boil for 7 to 9 minutes and then drain. Steamed butternut squash is delicious too. Simply cut and cube and steam the chunks for approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
Many people enjoy it mashed while others like to eat them in pieces. One of the most popular methods of cooking is making it into soup. Squash soup is not difficult to prepare and there are a variety of recipes from which you can choose.
Spices that complement the flavor are sage, paprika, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and ginger to name just a few. When you learn the various methods of how to cook butternut squash you will have a variety of side dishes that are nutritious and delicious that your family will love. So go out and buy some and try one of the methods we have shared this fall or winter.
Also try some other great squash recipes and garden recipes using garden fresh vegetables!
Allen Burt is a business consultant and entrepreneur with passions and hobbies including cycling, skiing, triathlons, cooking, and travel.