How to prepare butternut squash
Fact 1: I love butternut squash
Fact 2: I hate preparing butternut squash (I normally do it the lazy way and buy frozen chunks!)
Fact 3: I cannot resist a food-related bargain
These three facts recently combined and the result was that I could not resist buying the squash pictured above when it was priced at 45p. It also resulted in this lovely squash lurking in the back of my cupboard for the last three weeks or so. Which is fine - unless it has any blemishes or the skin is pierced, squash can effectively be stored for weeks in a cool, dark place. But this squash was speaking to me now (not really, it's just a figure of speech!). Every time I opened the cupboard, there it was, staring longingly at me and saying "Cook me! Eat me!"
But I digress... I finally took the plunge and decided to cook it this week. As I said, I hate preparing squash, mainly because the skin can be tough to peel. If I were simply roasting it to serve as a side dish, I probably wouldn't have peeled it, but just washed it and cut it into chunks. As I was putting it into something else, however, I felt I couldn't get away with leaving the peel on.
Below is the method I use for preparing squash. It's the one which I find quickest and easiest.
I start off by rinsing the squash and then cutting off the top and bottom. Then I put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. This initiates the cooking process just enough so that the skin softens a little and is easier to peel with a regular potato peeler. I normally peel the top part first and then cut it off from the bottom (wider) part and peel that separately. Sometimes, the wider part needs an extra minute in the microwave on its own so you can peel it more easily.
To remove the seeds, cut the bottom in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon and your fingers. Scrape out any stringy bits and give it a wash under running water.
Then you can easily cut it into chunks and use it in whatever you like. The whole process of preparing it took about 20 minutes, which means it's not the easiest vegetable to prepare, but I did end up with just over 1kg of squash goodness that had only cost me 45p, so I think it was worth it!
Later this week, I will post the recipe in which I used this squash. Until then, goodbye and Bon Appétit!