Cooking Winter Squash
A few years ago in the fall I stocked up on bushels of winter squash. Since I didn’t have a garden while we lived in an rv, I couldn’t grow my own. But I ended up finding a good deal ($18 for 50lbs) so I stocked up while I could. It had been a few years since I’d had this kind of abundance of winter squash in storage. So I had to set out to figure out the best way to cook it without taking up much time. Because let’s face it, no one wants to spend their time cooking winter squash!
Of course, I settled on my answer for just about anything cooking related…cook it in the slow cooker! It’s so easy and takes about 5 minutes of prep work. Plus you can to do this with just about any kind of squash.
Cooking winter squash in the slow cooker is super simple. I start by washing the outside of the squash to get any dirt or leftover garden bugs off. Then the hardest part….cutting the squash in half. Use a sharp knife and go slowly, cutting around the entire squash until it pops in half. Then remove the seeds using a spoon. You might have to scrape to remove everything. (And if you don’t want to waste these you can always dry them for a snack or check out one of these other Uses for Squash Seeds)
Place the squash into the slow cooker, then pour about a pint of water into the bottom of the crock. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake that I did once and add cold water into a warm slow cooker. The bottom can very easily break right off!
Set your slow cooker on high for 6 hours. You can check on the squash periodically with a fork to see how it’s cooking.
Once your squash is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker. Using hot pads to hold the squash, scoop out the yummy insides!
With Spaghetti Squash, cook like I mentioned above. When the squash is done, instead of scooping out the insides with a spoon, you will want to use a fork to get out all the noodles. You can make a simple side or even main dish with spaghetti squash. Just take a little butter and minced garlic and fry together for a few minutes in a frying pan until the garlic is nice and tender. Toss with the cooked spaghetti squash noodles and you’ve got a meal! Here are a few more ideas with recipes using Spaghetti Squash.
With winter squashes such as Acorn, Carnival, Delicata, ect, you will simply cook as shown above. Then scoop out the meat with a spoon, and place in a bowl. Add a little butter and let some brown sugar melt into the warm squash. Yum!
With a Butternut squash, you can cut these into large chunks while cooking so they cook a little more evenly (instead of just in half). Once these are cooked they stay in a more solid shape unlike the squashes mentioned above (something like a cooked carrot). Butternut are good to eat in small pieces with some butter on top or you can add them to soups or other dishes. If you keep imagining them like a cooked carrot, then you will be able to think of the recipes you’d add that to.
It’s fun to have a nice large variety of squash because there are so many different dishes that you can make with them! I can’t wait to plant all different kinds in my garden again this summer so we can enjoy them next winter.
Winter Squash stores very well in cold storage. Learn how to make your own frugal cold storage space.
What is your favorite recipe using winter squash? Share in the comments section below!