Here is one example of a simple method that doesn't compromise health. Cooking and pureeing your own squash or pumpkin is a great way to use local produce and avoid the BPA in canned products, but it's one of those things I'd be tempted to let go in a season such as this one. However, when your CSA keeps giving you squash, you've gotta do something with it! This is the easiest way to use your squash before it rots. And if you don't have the energy to use it right away, it's ok! Freeze it and use it when you feel inspired.
You really can't mess this method up.
Usually, to cook a whole squash, you grab the sharpest knife you own and pray that you won't lose a finger while attempting to cut it in half. Or maybe that's just me. But I've never quite felt at peace about risking my digits like that, and so I've discovered a much easier way to cook a squash. Bonus: you can forget about it and you won't ruin it or burn the house down.
Rinse off your squash and place as many as you want inside your slow cooker. I did three in this picture, in my six quart slow cooker. If you're doing larger ones, maybe just one or two.
Put the lid on, and turn the slow cooker on low or high, depending how long you have. I honestly can't tell you how long it's going to take (I told you this was brainless), but they always cook faster than I think they will. Check it after an hour, and then every half hour or so. If you can't check that often, turn it on low. It's done when it pierces easily with a fork.
Remove the cooked squash from the slow cooker and let them cool until you won't burn yourself touching them.
Cut the squash in half using a knife (mmm, now wasn't that easy?). Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Scoop out the flesh using a spoon. (Notice that's not the same squash you saw in the above picture...something sketchy is going on here...)
If you want pureed squash, use an immersion blender (my new favorite tool!), a regular blender, or a food processor to puree. (My immersion blender came with this handy little cup - perfect for smoothies! I find it SO much easier to wash the cup and one piece of the immersion blender than to wash all the little pieces of my blender or food processor. Seriously. You need to invest in one.)
Spoon the puree into jars, label, and freeze until needed. A big butternut and a medium acorn yielded about four and a half cups of pureed squash. The stuff in the measuring cup went into our dinner that night. (Pumpkin Sausage Pasta from Simply in Season. Yum.)
No more cutting your finger off trying to cut open a squash. Hurray!
Hope you are enjoying this fall season and finding ways to simplify and enjoy each day. :)
This is a part of Real Food Wednesday.