Spending time in the kitchen and preparing our own food is critical in regaining our health and staying healthy. More times than not, it is precisely our food supply that has brought us down this road of lethargy, inflammation, leaky gut, constipation, brain fog and pretty much, you name it. As more and more of us are confronted with the stark reality of eliminating foods that we were raised on, the convenience based food industry is catching up to the ‘trend’. The trap is being set for us once again. No matter what we are trying to avoid, your need will be presented in a nice shiny box filled with chemicals and food additives. As soon as that box is opened and consumed, get ready to feel like crap all over again! Learning How to Cook Winter Squash is as good a place as any to begin your new friendship with your kitchen.
This time of the year winter squash is very easy to find and it should be around for the next 3 to 4 months. The basic technique to take advantage of this inexpensive, nutrient dense (great source of Vit. A & C) fruit is to roast it. Roasting is a dry-heat method of cooking which employs a high temperature oven. The idea is to caramelize the natural sugars and essentially seal in the moisture. A low temperature oven will allow the vegetable/fruit to release it’s water content and basically steam, which will result in a mushy final product. This is exactly the technique we use to prepare our Roasted Autumn Vegetables on our menu.
How to Cook Winter Squash
Winter squash, as opposed to Summer squash, will need to be peeled. I recommend starting with a butternut squash. It’s less round than the others and a little easier to work with. After the skin is removed, slice the squash in half where the bottom bulbous part meets the longer and straighter neck. If the neck is very long cut into more manageable lengths. The key to roasting anything is to prep the item into pieces that are all relative in size. This way, everything will cook at the same rate and caramelize evenly. The neck pieces can be stood up on the flat cut side surface of the squash and quartered. Lay each quarter flat and slice them into pieces as wide as a finger. The bottom section will need to have it’s seeds removed and quartered, also. Slice those quarters into uniform sizes. As a side note: Butternut seeds can be treated just like pumpkin seeds and toasted in the oven for a great snack.
Before your prep begins, turn on the oven to 400 degrees. A hot, preheated oven is key for maximum caramelizing. Add your prepped Winter squash to a mixing bowl and season with salt & black pepper. Toss to thoroughly season the slices and add enough oil to moisten…the squash should have a sheen to it. Lay the squash out on a sheet pan in a single layer. Any mounding on the pan will create steam and the squash won’t roast to it’s maximum potential. After about 12 minutes you should begin to see those natural sugars turning a lovely chestnut brown color. Take the pan out and set aside to cool.
You now have a deliciously cooked Winter squash on your hands to enjoy at your whim! This same roasting technique can be used for root vegetables (carrot, turnip, potato, onion), as well as any other squash you come across. If you’d like to set yourself up with delicious Autumn vegetables with a lot less work, visit our online menu, place an order and we’ll deliver Dinner To You Door!