Fall has arrived in San Antonio, and the cooler temperatures mean it’s a perfect time to familiarize yourself with the many types of hard squashes found in area stores.
It can be a daunting task. This type of squash, unlike tender summer squashes such as zucchini, yellow crooknecks and pattypans, requires some time and know-how to get the most out of their thick skins and dense interiors.
This week I’m going to walk y’all through four types of hard squashes you’re likely to find in area markets and the best ways to prepare and cook each.
Because of the deeply grooved ridges on an acorn squash, peeling can be very challenging and usually will result in much of the edible flesh being wasted. Fortunately, the skin of an acorn squash is fairly thin and will be completely edible once cooked. And if you don’t like the texture of the skin, the cooked squash will easily scrape away from the skin.
Acorn squashes develop the best flavor when roasted. There are a few approaches you can take here. Personally, I like to split them in half, scoop out the seeds and place them cut-side up on a roasting pan. I then fill those halves with a couple pats of butter, a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg and a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup and roast them at 400 degrees until tender, which takes about 45 minutes depending on the size.
You also can cut the squash into wedges and toss them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast those. The roasted squash can be enjoyed on its own or diced up and put in salads, pureed into soup or tossed with pasta for a hearty fall meal.
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These dense and flavorful squashes are quite versatile once you get past their tough skin. The first thing to do is look at the squash as two parts: the solid neck and the bulbous lower half containing the seeds.
Using a sharp knife, cut the top portion off and trim off the stem end. From here, you can place this portion vertically on a cutting board and trim away the skin with a sharp knife. Cut the …….