Friday, October 17, 2008

Perfect Baked Squash or Pumpkin

As we get farther into fall, I start to get the yen for all things pumpkin! This is the time of year when we go with the children to choose the pumpkins they'll make into jack-o-lanterns. When we do, I try to get a pie pumpkin and bake it whole. It makes the perfect base for pumpkin pie, soup, or pumpkin muffins. The same method works for both butternut or acorn squash, two other fall favorites!


1-2 pie pumpkins
1 medium-sized acorn squash
1 large butternut squash

Wash the pumpkin or squash. Remove the stem. Prick the outside skin several times with the tines of a fork. Place on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. (If making butternut squash, turn the squash over after 30 minutes.) Check for doneness by piercing with a knife. The flesh should be nice and soft. If done, remove the pumpkin or squash from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Slice it in half, scoop out and discard the seeds. Now the pumpkin or squash is ready to cut up into other dishes or to be pureed in the blender or food processor.

Cooking these vegetables whole allows the sugars to remain in the flesh and the flavor to intensify without the need for a lot of other seasonings. If you want to make squash as a side-dish, try serving it cut and very lightly salted, or sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice. It is delicious.


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