Pumpkin, Acorn, Butternut…oh my!
Posted on November 4, 2011
Fall is settling in across the country. The season’s fickle weather is changing carpets of lawn into quilts of leaves, and in some areas white fluffy snowflakes have begun to flutter in a cautionary dance, teasing us to prepare for the cold of winter. With these autumnal cues dimming the switch on daylight savings, varieties of squash are piling in. There are bountiful assortments available this time of year and the options of how to prepare each variety are endless. After all, it’s the versatility of winter squash that makes it so easy to incorporate into planning a fall menu.
The tricky part is figuring out how to get the darn thing open.
Check out these two easy-to-use tricks to get you on your way to cooking up squash as often as you like.
- Start with a cutting board.
- Place a wet towel or rubber baking or pastry mat beneath the cutting board to keep your work surface stablized.
- Place another towel on top of the cutting board and center your squash.
- Next,you will need a cleaver and a meat tenderizer.
- Wrap a towel around the tenderizer and hold in one hand.
- Take the cleaver in your other hand and wiggle into a straight cut across the squash.
- Use the tenderizer to tap or put pressure on the cleaver until it cuts through the squash.
Nuke it…Then Chop It
- Poke a lot of holes (at least 20 – 30) on all sides of the squash with a fork.
- Place the squash in a microwave-safe dish for three minutes on full power.
- Some liquid will seep from the holes and that is okay.
- If the squash is warm but not hot to touch with bare hands, pick it up and place on a stabilized cutting board.
- Cut off the stem end first.
- Next cut through the most narrow part of the squash with a sharp chef’s knife.
- Proceed to cut the squash lengthwise from the cut portion down.
- Continue to work through the squash in small workable sections.
This fall and winter, enjoy your spaghetti squash carbonara, butternut squash soup, roasted acorn squash or pumpkin pie made from scratch. Anyway you slice it, the nutrient packed deliciousness of winter squash will remain available through the cold months ahead.