Nina’s Tips & Techniques: Fall Cooking Series featuring Squash

To peel or not to peel?

Depends on what you’re doing with it! Similar to the bones in meat, squash skins both add flavor and slow down cooking time – so skin-on means lots of flavor! If you’re roasting your squash in large pieces leave the skin on then scoop the cooked flesh out after cooking. If you’re roasting cubes peel the skin off before cooking and get nice caramelized edges all around. Some squash varieties (like Delicata) have edible skins which add texture and flavor!

I see all these different squash varieties in the store…what ARE they all? I am scared to try anything but good old butternut!

Do not fear the alternative squashes! They are all amazing and unique and delicious, and it is honestly hard to mess up cooking squash (see the next question for more on that). I asked our Produce Category Manager, Ashely, about the varieties of squash we’ve got this season and here is what she had to say:

We’ve got tons of squash varieties that go “beyond the butternut” – kabocha squash is a personal favorite and known for being a drier squash, it’s great for things that you don’t want to get soggy. Sweet dumpling squash is like a delicata that you can stuff. Long Island Cheese Pumpkins are smooth and creamy. Spaghetti squash is known for being more fibrous and starchy and is a great substitute for pasta or rice. The list goes on!

What’s the best way to roast squash?

Simple is always best. Cut your squash in half, scoop the seeds, coat with oil, salt and pepper, and then roast cut side UP until tender. 375 is my preferred oven temp. OR peel and cube your squash, toss with oil, salt and pepper, and spread out on a sheet tray – careful not to crowd the tray. Roast at high heat (450) until tender and golden brown.

Bonus Tip! Save your skins!!

Roasted Squash skins are amazing – once you have scooped the cooked flesh out you can simmer the roasted skins in stock or cream. Use this squash infused cream in soups or sauces, it has incredible flavor!

Featured Recipe: Curried Kabocha Squash Puree with Toasted Almonds and Golden Raisins