Winter Squash – What to do with all that butternut!

Months ago we decided that our first CSA box of autumn should certainly include some winter squash. We delivered with five to six pounds of butternut and a large acorn squash or two in this week’s produce box. There are many fine recipes to use winter squash and pumpkin when it’s in season but we definitely favour a few preparations. Here’s what we think you might like to do with both varieties

The sweet, dense, and deeply coloured flesh of butternut squash make it an incredibly versatile vegetable. Butternut is excellent roasted, baked, steamed or even lightly browned on a grill. Like most squash and pumpkin the flesh can also be cooked down and used as the basis of sweet breads, muffins, and cookies. We certainly feel however that the best use for butternut is transforming it into a substantial, comforting soup. Two recipes for decidedly different butternut soup preparations can be found at the link below. These recipes were written by both Jonathan Davis (Tule Peak Farm) and a great friend of the farm, Jonathan Dye. Make sure to click the link!

We cook acorn squash simply. After splitting the vegetable lengthwise and removing its seeds with a spoon we add the following to each half: a pat of butter, a tablespoon of minced shallot, the smallest dash of cinnamon, salt and fresh pepper, and a drizzle of maple syrup (a teaspoon of brown sugar is a decent substitute). Roasted at 350oF until the flesh is soft and caramelized (approximately 30 to 45 minutes) will provide you with an excellent vegetable side for some roast chicken. Adding a bit of cardamom and cumin to the above ingredients before roasting would put the squash in an Indian/South Asian category where it would play very nicely with a chickpea or cauliflower curry served with diced fresh cucumber (also in this week’s box!) and quality full-fat yoghurt. We think that you’ll be happy either way.

We should also mention that both of these squashes keep very well! You’ve got a couple of weeks to use them if they’re stored on your countertop. Stored in a cool, dark place with “cellar-like” conditions and you might manage to still have squash when we harvest our first next summer. This is why they are called “winter” squash. They were traditionally stored in root cellars and consumed in winter when fresh food was so precious.

Enjoy this week’s produce box (we hope you don’t feel to buried in watermelon!) and get to work on those winter squash when you have a moment. And please let us know how your winter squash recipes turn out in the comment section below.

Get ready for an eggplant recipe In the coming days – perhaps a recipe for caponata…    Happy eating and cooking!

-Your Farmers

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