Winter Squash Cooking Tips

Here are five quick and easy ways to prepare winter squash.

By Jill Jesiolowski Cebenko

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Here are five quick and easy ways to prepare winter squash:

Bake 'em.
"If you can bake a potato, you can bake a squash," says Rob Johnston, founder and chairman of Johnny's Selected Seeds, in Winslow, Maine. Just cut the squash into cup-size chunks, scraping out the seeds with a spoon. Then rub oil all over the pieces and bake them in an open pan for 40 to 45 minutes in a hot oven (425-450 degrees F). The outsides will get sort of charred, but that is okay. Just be sure not to underbake it (it will be chewy) or overbake it (it will get mushy).

Seed 'em.
Separate seeds from the pulp, toss with a little oil and salt, and toast in a 250°F oven until lightly browned. Try the seeds as a snack or add them to salads.

Ring 'em.
Chris Blanchard, owner of Rock Spring Farm, in Spring Grove, Minnesota, says to slice off the ends of two delicata-type squashes, scoop out the seeds, and cut into rings about 1/3-inch thick (the skin is edible). Heat 11/2 tablespoons of oil in a wide skillet, add the squash, and fry over medium heat until richly colored on the bottom, about 6 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side until tender. Serve warm.

Stuff 'em.
Smaller squashes like acorns make their own little bake-and-serve dishes. Slice them in half and bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes. Fill them with already cooked stuffing, such as seasoned rice, apples and raisins, or beans and meat.

Soup 'em.
Roast a butternut squash in the oven and then scoop out the flesh. Puree it in a blender, thin with some stock, season to taste, and you'll have a wonderful squash bisque!

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