The Internal Squash Sigh
In my previous role, before I started It's From Scratch, like a good parent, I was expected to love all vegetables equally. And I did - with one exception. As the nights drew in and the leaves started to turn to brown I knew that soon I would be lining up butternut, acorn, crown prince and spaghetti squashes on my kitchen bench.
Now I can definitely come up with dozens of squash recipes and enjoy them in all sorts of dishes. I love their taste, I love their texture, I love their versatility.
I just don't like how much they like to hold on to their skin!!!
Because, if looked after well, squashes will store in your kitchen for up to 6 months, all of the other vegetables always seemed a more attractive option to base dinner on - I'll deal with that squash later muttered the voice in my head.
If you're like me and need to take a deep breath before you deal with a squash - here are my tips
You don't actually need to peel them #1 - Butternut squash in particular has thin skin and when cooked in a stew is barely noticeable. This is the technique we use in our 'From Scratch Originals' Cookalong.
You don't need to peel them #2 - For tougher skinned varieties simply cut them into wedges, remove the seeds and roast. The skin can then be peeled away and discarded
If the recipe does require peeling, pop your squash in the oven while it is heating up or into the microwave (top & tail, prick all over with a fork and 3 mins on High should do it) If the squash is a little hot to handle use a tea towel to hold it.
Even if the recipe only needs half of the squash - prepare ALL the squash. The motivation might not come again this week so it make sense (and it's more energy efficient) to roast or sauté all of it then store half in the fridge for another dish.
Use sharp knives and veg peelers - you're much more likely to hurt yourself if you're having to apply extra pressure due to blunt blades.
Get the squash flat, probably by halving it and THEN start peeling, peeling something that's trying to roll around your bench is no-ones idea of fun.
I reckon podcasts were designed for kitchen chopping. Stick one on and you'll probably be looking round the room for something else to prep so you can listen to the next episode. The Archers is a 15 min podcast I love. There is a whole page on the BBC website devoted to 15 minute dramas and if you want to learn and chop then listening to the Just One Thing podcasts from Dr Michael Mosley could bring life changing benefits
Our new Pumpkin Pie cookalong uses many of the ideas above to make a delicious dessert. We even make a 2nd salad dish to take advantage of the lovely pumpkin seeds. Check out our home page for more details.