Appreciating squash

Squash is an autumn icon, a primordially fundamental food that is aesthetic and delicious. A big plus favoring squash in my case is that my malcontent metabolism permits me to eat squash. Happily, I like squash, and so does my husband. And growing squash adds another happy dimension as well: it meanders pleasantly around in the garden and up the fence espalier-style, sprawling across the ground, giving no nod to the notion of orderly rows. I even like the harvest-signaling sight of frost-blackened leaves and vines, the uninjured fruit of which continues to ripen in the sun.

I like zucchini, but I prefer the winter varieties of squash: butternut, acorn, and spaghetti. Since we began harvesting our zucchini in July, up through our final harvest of winter varieties today, our garden has provided daily squash portions. God has been kind. With the zucchini I was able to freeze and the squash we harvested today, we should be good for another month or two. After that, we will be obliged to face premium-priced squash grown in South America.

Squash is extremely easy to prepare, and I’m always surprised that people imagine it is difficult. In the past week, two of my friends and a cashier at Albertson’s have asked me how I cook squash, so I extrapolate from this the notion that everyone in the world must want to know how I cook squash. And so, behold, my intricate method:

To Cook a Squash

For zucchini: Slice longitudinally into wedges. Place in a microwavable dish of sufficient size (I use a ceramic pie pan) with about 2 inches of water. Microwave on high 5-6 minutes. Drain and serve.

For butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash: Trim stems and cut squash in half longitudinally. Remove seeds. Place face down (shell up) in a microwavable dish of sufficient size with about 2 inches of water. Microwave on high 13-15 minutes. In the case of spaghetti squash, you should be able to stick a fork into the skin and the skin should fall away intact from the squash fibers fairly easily, creating a neat mound of delicious spaghetti-like fibers. Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese and, as with other winter squash, lots of butter.

I think squash would be my favorite vegetable even if I possessed a versatile metabolism.

1 Comment

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One response to “Appreciating squash

  1. Your harvest looks gorgeous! I’m glad you’re able to enjoy the squash family. I think it’s the best group of vegetables—how many others can you make as a side, main dish, or dessert?? (I hear of people “sneaking” black beans into brownies to up the nutritional value, but that does NOT count.) I made acorn squash for the first time a few weeks ago, stuffing it with Parmesan and pine nuts and fennel…it was divine.


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