This may seem ridiculous to talk about, but the fact is, there was a time when I did not have a clue how to cook a squash other than in the oven. Yes, I grew up on a farm. But it was a fruit farm. I knew to cut a plum around it's middle. I knew about clings and freestone. I knew that Redhaven peaches appearing in stores well into September were not Redhaven peaches. I knew how to bake an apple.
When my mother finally had some down time just before Thanksgiving and baked a pumpkin pie, the filling always came forth from a can. When she cooked a squash, she cut it in half, scooped out the seeds and filled the hollow with some butter and brown sugar and put them into the oven to bake. It was nearly effortless and suited her ways perfectly. At Christmas, things got fancier and she would scoop out the baked filling and serve it mashed.
It was GG's Mom who put me onto using butternut squash for making pies. I am embarrassed to say that I actually peeled the squash and then put them in the oven, covered to bake. I would like to blame sleep deprivation for that. At some point after steaming vegetables to puree for baby Speedy, it dawned on me how easy and fast and nutritious it would also be to steam squash too, without peeling. From then on, I cut the squash right above the bulbous lower end and then cut the remaining upper part into equal sized pieces.
When my mother watched me prepare squash this way, she admitted it never occurred to her to steam a squash either - or anything else for that matter. She said it was faster her way. She liked to put everything in the oven and then go knit. "Besides, it warms up the house."
I think it's faster this way but I don't knit - much. Scoop out the seeds saving them if you wish to grow a few plants next season. Cut the scooped out part in half.
I use a big tall stock pot or soup pot to steam. Whatever you use, the lid must fit well. Place the little steamer in the pot bottom, put some water in making sure it comes only to the bottom of the steamer. Evenly space the squash around the pot, cover with a lid and turn the heat on to medium high. Adjust the temperature downward a bit once the water is boiling.
About 15 minutes later check the squash with a toothpick or fork for doneness. I use a metal shish kabob skewer. Once the skin easily pierces, remove the pieces from the pot to cool and when cool enough to handle, scrape the squash from the cooked skin. There is enough in one good sized butternut squash to make two pies. And that's how I cook squash.
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