One of my passions is gardening and preserving food. Our family has been on a food journey for a number of years now. Our aim is to eat as naturally as we can which to us means eating foods as close to the way God made them as possible. Sometimes in the winter season, it is easy to get in a rut of fixing the same meals over and over.
Yesterday I cooked three butternut squash that I had received from a friend. The squash had been hanging around on my counter since fall and needed to be used soon.
Here is how to prepare the squash: Rinse off the squash with water. Cut open the squash lengthwise. Remove the seeds and as much of the strings as you can. I scrape it out with a spoon. (Save the seeds.) Cut squash into several large chunks. Put about a half inch of water in bottom of 6-8 quart pot. Place squash chuncks in pot. Bring to boiling on stove top. Then turn back heat until water is just simmering. Cook squash until you can easily stick a fork through the pieces. This takes about an hour, but check it from time to time. When tender, remove from heat and allow to cool enough to handle the pieces. When cool enough, scoop out squash meat from the skin. Discard skin and puree squash in a food processor until smooth. My yield was 3 pints of pureed squash. Sometimes I freeze it in pint containers to use in muffins, pie, cookies, or bars. This time I put the squash in the refrigerator for another day.
What to do with the seeds? Wash off the pulp and place them on a tea towel to dry. The next day or so, sprinkle them with salt and add a bit of coconut oil or butter. Bake them in a 300 degree oven on a cookie sheet. Stir every fifteen minues until slightly crispy. Takes about 45 minutes depending on size of seeds. The children love to snack on these roasted seeds!
Today for lunch, I used a pint of the pureed squash to make a butternut bisque. The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks Simply in Season published by Mennonite Central Committee, Inc. Carrots, onions, chicken broth, butternut squash, and yogurt are the main ingredients. We used homemade whole wheat bread to dip in it. Of the six of us, five thought it was delicious. Not bad considering four of them are children with developing taste buds, and I was springing a new recipe on them!
Another day, I plan to use the remaining squash in Winter Squash Bars, another recipe from Simply in Season. The bars are very simple to make and not too sweet. Even our son who does not like sweets devours them!
Hope you have received some inspiration for eating well on a cold winter day!