Acorn Squash

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Acorn squash makes the perfect side dish for the holidays and family dinners. It can also be used as an ingredient in everything from soups to pies. Here are some squash recipes and tips for the busy mom.

Baked Squash

Step One

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.

Step Two

Wash and dry the outside of your acorn squash. Cut it in half. Scoop out the strings and seeds. Level the pieces by slicing a little bit off the bottom of each half.

Step Three

Put the halves, skin side down, on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes. Poke some holes with a fork or knife. Rub 1 tablespoon of butter on each of the halves. Sprinkle each half with about 1 tablespoon of brown sugar; add a little real maple syrup if you like it. Salt and pepper to taste. Continue baking until it's soft and can be pierced easily with a fork. This is perfect to serve a half acorn squash to each family member for dinner.

Steamed Squash

Step One

Wash and peel your acorn squash. Cut it into pieces.

Step Two

Fill a pot with about 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil. Put the pieces in a steamer basket. Sprinkle salt on the pieces and toss. Put the steamer basket in the pot and cover. Steam the pieces for about 10 minutes or until soft. Eat them as is, adding a little butter or pepper if desired. Or you can freeze them at this point, to be used later.

Squash Puree

You can make and freeze this puree ahead of time to later be used for making a soup or pie of your choice. Do a few at once to make it more worth your effort.

Step One

Cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and strings. Place the halves, skin side up, on a baking pan. Pour 1 cup of water into the pan.

Step Two

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until soft.

Step Three

Put 4 tablespoons of butter in a bowl. Scrape out the filling from the skin, then spoon it on top of the butter. Mash it until it's smooth. Add salt to taste. Put the mashed mixture in a blender. Mix it until it's pureed. Note:  Plan ahead - if you will be freezing some to be used in a specific recipe, skip the salt and butter and freeze in the appropriate portions for your recipe.

Step Four

Spoon the puree into containers. Leave about a 1 inch space between the puree and the top of the container. You can also freeze the puree in tightly sealed freezer bags. This puree can be frozen for up to one year.

Tips

1. Acorn squash can be stored in a dark, cool area for about one to three months.

2. Make peeling the skin easier by cutting it into pieces first. After the pieces are cut, take the skin off with a vegetable peeler.

3. Select the perfect acorn squash by choosing one that's heavy for its size, firm and has a dull skin.

 

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