Friday, October 2, 2015

How To Peel and Cook a Squash

Butternut Squash- How to Cut, peel and use in recipes

My daughters are sixteen, at that time of life when getting information from Mom is fraught with having to actually hang out with me and learn.

No, that isn't quite right.

I have amazing daughters. They are smart, courageous, playful, athletic, charming, funny, gorgeous and brilliant. Yes, I might be biased,  just a bit.

They are also teenagers, so getting their full attention for a task or lesson about cooking is a bit harder than when they were little.

Girls Cooking circa 2005
Sometimes, I wish they were still small. 

They got their first chef's knives at seven. 
Back then, the idea of being beside an adult cooking was one of their favorite things to do.

We must have done something right because now they are both working, cooking at a Food truck in town.
Yes, at sixteen, they have a job that balances timing, seasoning and presentation for paying clients.

We are truly proud.

But the other day, Katie asked how to cook a squash, a whole squash.

And I realized that the thing that isn't happening for them, the essential part of learning a skill well, the repetition of one task, just wasn't happening for them.

So, I've decided to take it to the electronic space of this site.
An online reference manual for how to do the basics.

And one day, maybe when they have gone off to college or their first adult adventure, they can click through from Bangkok or Melbourne to see how something is done. Just in case I can't be reached.

Lets begin with How to Peel and Cook a Squash

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash peeled
 The butternut squash grows from a long vining plant and sits directly on the ground.
First things first,
You do not want to bring all the possible bacteria into your lovely squash.

2. Divide the long slender neck portion from the bulbous body portion.

Butternut Squash- How to Cut, peel and use in recipes
The neck rarely has seeds so the preparation is just peeling, then cutting the flesh into the size pieces for your recipe.
I take care of that with my knife held just inside the fleshy part, sliding it down to separate the firm skin from the tender meat.

3. Cut the rind/shell of the squash off of the bottom.

4.Cut the bulbous part of the squash in half so you can place the cut side down for removing the shell.

5. Using your knife, skim just under the surface, cutting off the shell but little of the meat.

6. Scoop out the seeds and guts of the squash, then cut into the size pieces you want.
Just like a pumpkin, you can eat these as a tasty snack.
Butternut SquashI toss mine into a salty brine while I finish cutting the squash if I want a snack but more frequently, they are a treat for my chickens.
Butternut Squash
Finished product.

Is there a basic skill you wish you knew how to do?
Something that you know there must be an easier way?
Let me know in the comments and I'll queue them up over time.

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