Squash has many nutritional benefits, but isn’t regularly on most people’s menus because they think it’s too hard to prepare, or will take too long to cook. Here are some tips that will help you incorporate squash into your meals more often.
Cutting uncooked squash can be a challenge! Make sure you have a sharp heavy knife or cleaver and a secure cutting board.
- Rinse squash and cut off the stem
- Trace a line lengthwise through the skin to guide your knife and prevent it from slipping
- Place the knife blade in the cut and tap the base of the knife with your fist or a mallet until you have cut through the squash
If you want to avoid cutting a raw squash altogether, try cooking method 1 (roast squash whole).
You can peel and scoop out squash seeds and fibers before or after cooking (usually this is easier after cooking, unless your recipe requires you to cut the uncooked squash into cubes).
1. ROAST SQUASH WHOLE. Place squash in an oven-safe dish in a 400 degree oven. Cook for about 40-60 minutes, until it is soft. When cool enough to handle, peel off skin (it should slip off), halve squash with a knife, and remove seeds.
2. BAKE UNPEELED HALVES OF QUARTERS. With a sharp knife, cut squash in halves or quarters. Place cut-side down on a foil-lined ban and bake at 375 degree for 40-60 minutes, or until tender.
3. MICROWAVE. Place squash chunks of squash halves cut-side up in a microwavable dish, cover, and cook on HIGH until tender (about 6-10 minutes).
4. STEAM squash halves or cubed squash in a little water or in a vegetable steamer until tender when pierced (about 10-20 minutes).
For a super time-saver, consider buying pre-peeled and cut squash, which is available at many well-stocked supermarkets.
These tips were adapted from Food For Thought: Healing Foods to Savor.
Recipes Featuring Squash
More tips, strategies, and techniques to help you
out in the kitchen . . .
- APPLES: Selecting, Storing, and Preparing
- GINGER: How to peel, chop, and grate
- GRAINS: How to cook (UC Berkeley Wellness); Handy Chart! (Popsugar)
- HERBS: Keep herbs fresh and prepare them like a pro
- LEMONS & LIMES: How to zest
- MANGOES: How to cut a mango (National Mango Board)
- SQUASH: How to cut and cook
- VEGETABLES: 60+ Healthy Way to Cook Vegetables. Discover healthy ways to cook your favorite vegetables from acorn squash to zucchini (A to Z) using this helful infographic.(UC Berkeley Wellness)