Friday, January 3, 2020

Winter Squash

Some of the many squash I helped grow and harvest at a previous job in a different and much warmer location!

 Winter squash (the hard, sometimes oddly shaped and colored ones, not things like zucchini which are summer squash) are a great way to get lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber, among other thing, into your diet in the winter. Check out http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2751/2 or other sources if you want to see a list of all the vitamins and minerals they contain. They also store very well, so are a great winter food. I would love to grow and store my own as they are pretty easy to grow. If you have a warm enough climate. Most varieties take a 100 day plus frost free growing season and here we're lucky to have 50 days without snow. Usually with multiple frosts in that period. But wether you can grow your own or buy them, one of the best things about squash is how easy they are
to cook and eat. And they are generally pretty inexpensive too. Here's a few ways I like to prepare them.


Halved and Baked

Cut the stem end off of the squash and then split it in half. This can be a bit hard with large squash due to how hard the rind or peel is. Scoop out the seeds. (You can toss these with some oil and salt and roast till golden brown if you like pumpkin seeds too!) Lay the squash face down on a baking dish and bake at 350 F. for 15 to 45 minutes (or until soft) depending on how large your squash variety is. You should be able to easily pierce through the body of the squash with a fork once it is soft.





Spaghetti Squash

This is the one recipe that does require a specific kind of squash. Helpfully it's called spaghetti squash. :) And the unique thing about it, is that when baked just like above, it naturally comes apart into spaghetti shaped strings instead of a more creamy texture that's the norm for almost all other varieties. After baking as above, scoop out all the "spaghetti" and use with tomato or meat sauce just as you would pasta.



Sliced and Baked

This is really easy. Simply slice the squash, scoop out the seeds, and slice. Spread slices out on a baking sheet or dish and drizzle some oil over them. Sprinkle with salt or any other tasty seasoning mix you have around. Again, bake at 350 until you can easily pierce with a fork. Serve as a side with almost any meal. You can eat the rind, but I usually eat the squash off of it as it's pretty tough, much like a watermelon slice.

Not my photo, I forgot to take one last time I baked squash.

Squash Soup


 Here's one idea, but like most things, especially soups, feel free to experiment with the flavors and proportions you like best.

  • little bit of coconut oil
  • 1 to 2 onions,
  • head of garlic or so
  • 5 cups bone broth
  • 8 cups (about 3 pounds) squash cubes, any variety or combinations of kinds
  • 1 1/4 t. thyme
  • 1 1/4 t. sage
  • 1 T. cinnamon 
  • 1 T. unrefined salt
  • can of coconut milk

Sauté onions and garlic until tender. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in coconut milk. Mash with potato masher for chunky soup (my favorite!) or puree in blender if you like a really smooth and creamy texture.






Cubed, Pealed, and Baked

Again, split the squash in half and scoop out seeds. Use a vegetable peeler or knife and remove the peel. Dice up and toss with oil, salt, and any other seasonings you like. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until soft. Serve as a side with almost any meal.




Note, you can also use in any dish calling for pumpkin. To do this just bake unseasoned, in any of the ways described above, scoop out the soft meat and use in any recipe or freeze for later. Most pumpkin used in cooking (or that you may buy in a can) is made from winter squash, not round orange pumpkins. The squash have a better flavor and more meat to them than a round pumpkin.

I'd love to hear what your favorite squash variety or method of cooking is!



23 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post! As I mentioned previously I had an excellent butternut squash harvest last fall so I'm always happy to get new recipe ideas. I really like them sliced and roasted at a high temperature so that they carmelize on the surface. I usually roast them at 450F while baking hearth style bread. Once I even did them at 550F while baking pizzas. The squash was at the top of the oven above the pizza tiles so they were protected from excessive bottom heat. They turned out great! I usually peel the squash before slicing but you've given me the idea to try just leaving peel on and then removing it while eating which might be a lot less hassle than peeling the hard raw squash.

    I also like making a Thai style squash soup. I don't have an exact recipe but the key ingredients besides the squash are coconut milk, red Thai curry paste, fish sauce and Thai basil.

    Do you have any experience with delicata squash? I read about it this summer but haven't eaten (or grown) any yet. Apparently one advantage of delicata is that the skins are very thin and tender and can be eaten along with the flesh. :)

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    1. Delicata are truly delicious and small enough to be right for one person.

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    2. Yeah I do think it's a lot quicker and easier to get the peels off once they are soft. I've had Delicata and they are good. Can't say I find them a whole lot different than many other varieties that I also enjoy.

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  2. I grow butternut squash every year and i love it by itself as a side or in soups (delicious).Very easy to peel if you slice the neck in about one inch thick rings and dig out the seeds in the bulb end and bake,i usually blanch most of mine and freeze it for use throughout the winter.This year off of three plants i got 43 squash.

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  3. I usually plant one plant of butternut squash and one plant of spaghetti squash each year and get 12 to 14 squashes each. Spaghetti squash has about one half the growing season compared to butternut squash. I would try to grow spaghetti squash in your location. I find that squashes do better in milder climates or where there is shade in a hot climate. They need a lot of water.

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    1. Nice harvest! Yeah, but even spaghetti squash like soil temps of no cooler than 65 degrees for at least 85 consecutive days. My soil rarely reaches that temp for a single day. :) I have no frost free period.

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  4. Press along on the road to your new homestead, where you can grow them! Yes, squash are excellent food. We use them for an unleavened bread, also, where cooked squash puree is mixed with flour (oat, wheat, corn, etc.) to make a batter; dropped onto cookie sheets, and baked.

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  5. I love all the cooking you do with fresh food. I have been watching all your older YouTube cooking shows and getting some great ideas. Cooking never came naturally to me and I never learned as a young adult. So much of my life I didn't like to cook because nothing ever turned out good. As I got older I tried to learn, and shows like yours are an inspiration and I am finally not ruining everything.

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    1. Wonderful! Since food is such a huge part of life, it's a handy thing to know more about.

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  6. I don't know much about squash but I've moved to a house with a big yard....gonna plant me a goodly sized garden this spring including a few types of squash. Your recipes look too good to not to.

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    1. Enjoy and best wishes for an abundant harvest!

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  7. Hi Ariel! I just started watching your YouTube videos and I must say, Wow! you are a hard working young lady! I love your way of making cooking and canning look so simple. I just watched the video of how you can all those carrots. I was wondering how you use the steam Caner? is it the same as using a water bath Caner? I like the idea of not lifting a heavy pan of hot water!
    I look forward to your next videos and hope you take us along as you move to your new land.

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    1. Welcome! See more details on canning in this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyoL4f4sqOs . They are very similar.

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  8. Does the blog fulfill your creative needs, now that your not making videos? On one hand it has freed you from the obligation of making and editing, uploading, etc. You must have more time for other things, probably shoveling snow lol. But on the other hand, I just re watched an hour of COPPA just so I could see you and hear your voice. Oh well,Such is life.

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    1. Not sure I feel that I have creative needs, but I do enjoy sharing information with those who want to learn!

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  9. You make cooking seem so easy. I've tried many of your recipes and they've all been great. Thanks from a kitchen bumpkin.

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  10. Just curious about where you're at with the COPPA issue. Have followed you for years and miss the videos but, of course, if you can't continue I wish you all the best. Thanks for many hours of informative and fun videos!

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    1. I've seen no updates or changes from either Youtube or the FTC yet.

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  11. Thank you Ariel! Great recipe :)

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