How to Cook Winter Squash - Recipes!
Winter Squashes keep us going through the cool autumn and winter months, offering good sources of complex carbohydrates and necessary minerals and vitamins. Since these are true winter vegetables, they taste best when they’ve been exposed to the cooler weather of autumn and winter.
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The deep orange flesh of winter squash means they are loaded with beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. According to Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition, Vitamin A is known for immune support, enhanced eye site (especially night vision) and aiding the digestive tract, where 70-90 percent of our immune system is located.
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My personal favorites are kabocha (deep orange, eliptical shaped) and turban (the ones that look like UFO's). Don't be afraid of the weird shapes and sizes. Once you break open the alien shell and cook it up, you'll wonder what you ever waited for.
Cooking Winter Squash
Removing the skins - Cut the squash in half with a very sharp knife. With the cut-side down on the cutting board, sliver away the tough skins from the meat. Be very careful and use the sharpest knife you own, as dull knives slip and can be dangerous.
Roasting - This is the best way to get all the sweetness from the flesh. Roasting caramelizes the squash, bringing the natural sugars to the surface. It's also the easiest way to cook it; you don't have to deal with cutting away the dangerously hard skin. Use in soups, dollop on top of casseroles, or drizzle with butter, maple syrup and cinnamon.
Roasting Directions - Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place the pieces, cut-side down, on a baking sheet. Bake 45-55 minutes, until soft. Scoop out the flesh.
Braising - Cooking in a liquid (braising) gives the hard squash a chance to soften up and bring out it's delightful flavors. The squash is skinned and diced into chunks for pilafs, curries and stews.
Steaming - Given a little extra time in the steamer basket, these once rock hard nuggets will soften up like butter. Serve on top of a grain and drizzle with a creamy dressing or soy sauce.
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