Updated Sept. 15, 2018…A few years ago while visiting our relatives in rural Wisconsin, we were lucky to bring home five gorgeous butternut squash from their garden. My immediate family loves it, especially at Thanksgiving. We eat it mashed with salt and pepper and a dab of butter. I usually prepare it about a week ahead of Turkey Day, freeze and then pop into the oven about an hour before it is time to eat. (I thaw it the night before.)
In the past, I have cooked butternut squash like I would potatoes – peeled, chopped into chunks and boiled on the stove.
But uncooked, butternut are hard as field rocks. It is difficult to peel the thin skin away from the flesh and I often cut my thumb doing it.
Well, this year my nephew’s wife (and gardener), Leah, suggested using a crock pot to cook the squash. I did it yesterday and it worked so well I’m turning today’s post into a cooking blog. Since the squash came from the country, I think it fits Karen Loves Country.
Thanks, Leah, for the great squash and the cooking tip.
First, wash the squash thoroughly.
Next, cut each squash lengthwise in half. I used a sharp knife, first cutting the wide end off to create a flat base so I could rest the squash upright while making the long cut. It wasn’t difficult. I used a spoon to scoop the seeds away and scrape off the inside threads.
Three large squash filled two large crock pots.
After two hours cooking on low the squash looked pretty raw still, so I turned the crock pots to high for two more hours. After four hours of total cooking time, the squash were cooked thoroughly and nice and soft.
I used a large spoon to move the squash from the crock pot to a metal bowl (they fell apart easily). The bowl was perfect for keeping the mess contained as I scooped the flesh away from the skin. I had a second bowl where I piled the pure squash and mashed it before loading into my casserole dish.
Good to have that job done.
Next up is baking the cornbread for my mom’s southern side dressing.
(One more tip: my mother-in-law also cooked a squash from Leah recently. But she only wanted serving-size quantities. So, after the squash was cooked she scooped small mounds onto a cookie sheet and froze them overnight. Later she placed the frozen servings in a plastic bag and popped them back into the freezer to pull out and heat as needed. Smart.)
The 2018 method: This year I cut them in half and am baking for 80 minutes at 350 degrees. I sprinkled a little salt and pepper on first. After cooking until very tender and mushy, I will scoop away the squash from the skin and mash. The 5-6 squash that I am baking now (right this minute) will make several nice pint containers worth. Oh, and I grew my own this year!
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