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Tips for cooking with winter squash

Spaghetti, Butternut, Ambercup, and Hubbard squashes are available from the Honest Weight Food Co-opBlack Horse Farms at Hudson Valley Hannaford locations, and the Chatham Co-Op who offers organic winter squash from Blue Star Farm in Stuyvesant during the fall and winter.

Many varieties of winter squash, like Hubbard and Butternut, will store for a couple of months in a cool dark place. You may decide to roast a large batch of winter squash and store the cooked pulp in Ziploc bags or plastic containers in the freezer. After defrosting, add a little butter, maple or honey, and a few spices for a hearty vegetable dish that goes well with almost any meal.

Winter squash pulp also makes a delicious addition to winter soups and stews.

Cooking whole winter squash

The squash can be deeply pierced four or five times with a sharp knife and roasted for one and half hours until tender and easily pierced with a knife. Let the squash cool. Cut in half and scoop away the seeds. Serve with butter (or olive oil), salt, pepper, and chopped herbs.

Winter squash served in quarters

Cut the squash into quarters lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Place the squash quarters cavity side up in a baking dish with a quarter inch of hot water. Bake 30-45 minutes until the squash is tender when pierced with a knife. Halfway through the cooking, if desired, fill each cavity with melted butter, brown sugar (or honey), a dash of salt and pepper, and grated nutmeg. Serve the squash in its shell, the flesh will scoop easily away with a spoon or a fork. Otherwise, scoop the flesh out of the shell and serve it simply seasoned with hot butter (or olive oil), salt, pepper and chopped herbs.

Winter squash prepared mashed

The cooked flesh can also be mashed with butter, cream, maple syrup (or brown sugar), ginger and cinnamon.

Quick winter squash in the microwave

You can split and de-seeded butternut or another winter squash, cube it, place it in a plastic wrapped bowl with a few tablespoons of water and microwave it for 4-5 minutes until a knife will easily penetrate the cooked flesh.

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