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How to Bake Butternut Squash

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Peg Cole is a self-taught cook who shares her favorite recipes and methods of cooking and baking.

Baked Butternut Squash

Baked Butternut Squash

First-Time Bakers of Butternut Squash Welcome

When the weather cools down and fall is in the air, butternut squash makes an appearance in the produce departments of Texas, the southern states, and other markets like Australia and New Zealand where it's known as butternut pumpkin.

This pumpkin-like fruit was first developed in Stow, Massachusetts, and it's wonderful when used in baking breads and pies or even as a side dish. It's a member of the Cucurbita moschata family.

My family likes butternut squash in a no-crust pie recipe that I've adapted that uses canned, frozen, or fresh-baked butternut squash. Having baked this pie for many years, I never tried it using fresh squash until recently. The difference in texture and taste is amazing.

After years of using the frozen kind of winter squash, I finally embraced my fears of strange and unusual vegetables, picked out a firm, uniform specimen at the produce department, and took it home. Then I began to search for instructions on how to prepare and bake it. Was I to peel it? Did I cube it? Were there seeds?

Inside an old Mirro Ware Cookbook from 1954, I found a recipe for acorn squash, which I adapted and it came out amazingly delicious. I was truly pleased at how easy it was to prepare even on my first attempt.

Fresh Butternut Squash

Fresh Butternut Squash

Here is what butternut squash looks like. Tony knows a good one when he smells it.

Dogs know how to pick the best squash. They sniff them out.

Dogs know how to pick the best squash. They sniff them out.

How to Bake Butternut Squash

First line a baking pan (13x9 inches) with aluminum foil. It makes for easy cleanup later.

Then preheat the oven to 350°F.

Wash the squash thoroughly to remove dirt and debris. Use a cutting board and a sharp knife to carefully cut the stem off the squash.

Cut off the stem.

Cut off the stem.

Cut Off the Stem

Firmly grasp the squash and cut it in half lengthwise, starting at the bulbous end. For best results, use a serrated knife.

Use care when cutting the squash. It is hard to make both sides exactly even as the texture of the vegetable is very tough when raw.

Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise.

Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the seeds along with the membrane.

Scoop out the seeds along with the membrane.

Just like you would with a cantaloupe or melon, scoop out the seed pockets using a spoon and set the seeds aside. These can be washed and saved for planting or baked and eaten.

Drop the seeds into a small bowl with a little water and the membrane will wash off and drop to the bowl bottom and the seeds will float. Spread them out to dry on a paper towel.

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil

Prepare the Pan

Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil for easier cleanup.

Spray the bottom with Pam or lightly grease the surface with Crisco vegetable shortening.

Melt the butter in a microwaveable dish.

Melt the butter in a microwaveable dish.

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a microwaveable dish for about 10 seconds and brush the cut surfaces of the squash with the butter.

Combine the sugar and spices in a separate bowl

Combine the sugar and spices in a separate bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sugar, granulated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, optional
Brown sugar in the hollow

Brown sugar in the hollow

Instructions

  1. Mix the sugar and spices in a separate bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a microwaveable dish.
  3. Brush the cut halves of the squash with melted butter using a pastry brush or spoon.
  4. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the buttered halves.
  5. Place 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar in the bowl of each squash half, if desired.
  6. Add one cup of water and cover the baking pan with a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  7. Bake the squash for 45 minutes at 350°F.
  8. Remove the foil cover and test tenderness with a fork.
  9. Bake uncovered for an additional 30 to 45 minutes until a fork can be easily inserted into the squash.
Cover the squash with aluminum foil. Cut holes to allow the steam to escape

Cover the squash with aluminum foil. Cut holes to allow the steam to escape

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

1 hour 15 min

1 hour 30 min

2 to 3 cups cooked squash

The fork test

The fork test

Scooping out the cooked squash

Scooping out the cooked squash

Once tender, use a spoon to scoop out each shell and transfer the squash into a serving dish or covered container and refrigerate the cooked squash until needed.

Using fresh-cooked squash instead of canned or frozen definitely gives butternut squash pie an improved texture and adds to its holding power in the refrigerator. The pie can be served warm or chilled and is delicious when topped with some whipped cream or Cool Whip. Even Kids will love it.

I hope you won't wait as long as I did to try this really easy recipe to make fresh-baked squash.

Fresh baked butternut or winter squash is delicious and served warm as a side dish.

Fresh baked butternut or winter squash is delicious and served warm as a side dish.

Fresh Baked Butternut Squash Pie

Fresh Baked Butternut Squash Pie

Recipe for Butternut Squash Pie by PegCole17

Here is an easy recipe for a butternut squash pie that doesn't require a crust. I hope you'll give this a try. It's great for the holidays or anytime at all and can be made with fresh, canned, or frozen squash.

© 2011 Peg Cole