Even Ugly Squashes Deserve a Little Love

>> Saturday, December 12, 2009

What exactly is this ugly, bumpy, curious-looking thing? It's a hubbard squash. A blue hubbard to be exact. I didn't know what it was either until my mother-in-law kindly gave me one as a gift (she was as intrigued as I was) before we headed back from our pilgrimage to the New York Wine & Culinary Center earlier this fall. At first, we just kept it around the house as a Halloween decoration.

But last weekend, I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, and I decided it was business time. (Please tell me you get this reference!)

What I've found out about the squash is that it's actually quite delectable. It's often used as a substitute for pumpkin in recipes (like pie) because its sweet flavor closely mimics other, more normal-looking varieties. Other cooking suggestions include making soups and even baby food. For now, we've only harvested the big beast's puree. And the process is much like the one we used to make pumpkin puree.

Step 1: Actually, this photo is jumping ahead a bit. The hubbard squash's skin is so thick, it's difficult to cut the whole thing open with a knife. I'm sure there are much sharper knives that could do the trick -- but ours simply didn't work. What'd we do? We listened to the guy who sold us the squash . . . we put the poor thing in a clean garbage bag and went outside and said happy birthday to the ground!

Much like in this video . . .

Step 2: Scoop out the seeds. Chop up the flesh. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and get ready to roast.

Step 3: Roast for 45 minutes -- until the flesh is soft and juices start flowing. Then let cool, scoop out as much soft stuff as you can, and puree in your food processor or blender until smooth.

Step 4: Use the puree in your cooking and baking. Or, if you have no idea what to do with it -- package it up. I put mine in various containers and measured out 1/2 cup (the two little guys), 1 cup (the medium-sized one), and 2 cups (the two largest containers).

I'm still really not sure what I'm going to make, but this weekend will give me the perfect opportunity to get creative with it. And, of course, I'll share it all with you :) If you have any suggestions -- I'd love to hear 'em! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker@gmail.com.

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