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Butternut Squash: Think Before You Cut That Bad Boy!

It's embarrassing to think of how long it took me to figure this out - I'd whack away at that beautiful Butternut squash, peeling, cutting, cubing, cooking and mashing only to be left with that sad 'bulb' end of the thing. What to do with that? It's not beefy enough to cube, not regularly shaped enough to slice. Ah, jeeze. Cook it. Put it on the plate. Hope nobody really notices.

The lightbulb did go on finally, but it involves about one minute of serious consideration of what you want to use the various parts of these squashes for. This allows you to maximize your golden orange investment. Winter Squash Return On Investment. WSROI. I crack myself up. Actually, I select these type of squashes by the length of the long, straight neck. That's the value part of the proposition.

Let's get to work. I wanted some to mash up for dinner. Ron loves mashed squash - his New England heritage at work - under slices of plant-based protein. And, gravy. I could pour vegan gravy over an old sneaker and well .... back to squash. Peel the thing. I love my 'Y' peelers. I might actually still have another kind, but I wouldn't know where they are. The 'Y' peelers are so easy to work around any sort or shape of vegetable. The fit nicely in the hand and you won't have any hand cramps from using it.

I decided that the rounded 'bulb' would go for the mash - plus whatever more I might need to make a sufficient portion for each of us. Actually, I wanted a bit extra since I wanted to try maple and cinnamon infused mashed squash on my morning toast. (It's very yummy!). Time to peel.

Time to start cutting. Make your first cut at approximately the point where the neck ends and the bulb begins. Don't over-think this. You'll be close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades.

You're now going to cut up the bulb end, but probably will end up taking a bit more of that fibrous part from the neck section, too.

After you've removed the seeds, slice the halved bulb into roughly one inch (+/-) slices, and then cube those. These (plus a little more of that neck section), for tonight, are going straight into the Instant Pot for mashed squash.

The neck section will still often have a 'spongey' core - especially on larger specimens. It's fine to eat, but that went into the 'mash' group with all the oddly shaped and uneven bits. Years ago, a Dermatologist that I was seeing (routine visit) called his nurse in to show her my hands, remarking on how old they looked. Yeah. Thanks. That was like 25 years ago.

All the rest went into a bag for the freezer. I can reach in and pull out just what I need for a dish or meal. I prefer to use the Instant Pot (High Pressure for about 4 minutes - yielding chunks that are tender but hold their shape) or steam them. Steaming will take longer, but results in a nice squash chunk. Boiling would be my last choice.

So, fortunately, I'm still not too old to learn something new.

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