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Cooking Pumpkin Patch Winter Squash

Most winter squash may be cooked the same way, either in the microwave or in the oven. Whichever way you choose, cut the squash in half or in pieces and clean out the seeds. 

Place squash in bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a paper towel to keep in moisture. Cook each side 7-10 minutes on high (depending on your microwave.) Take out and apply topping (below) and cook for 1 more minute.

Heat oven to 350o. Place cut-side down with a small amount of water (or apple cider) on the baking pan and bake until almost tender (about 50 minutes.) Take out and apply toppings (below) and cook for 10 more minutes.

Add butter, cinnamon, maple syrup, brown sugar or anything else you like.

Special Squash Instructions:
For Spaghetti, Orangetti or similar squash, cook whole in the oven or microwave with deep holes poked in it first. When tender, cut in half and scoop insides out to serve. These types of squash are wonderful with tomatoes and meat sauce. Enjoy!


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Storing Winter Squash

Choose squash free of any signs of rotting or soft spots, and with its stem on. Squash with very thick skin and larger in size will generally last longer than smaller, more delicate varieties. Store squash in cool (50-55o F.), dry place and it will last for months. Do not store squash where it can freeze. Keep the surface of the squash dry to prevent or slow the aging process. Air circulation also helps to prevent moisture from forming on the surface. Do not store on concrete floors. Some of the more durable squash can be stacked on top of each other if adequate room is provided for air circulation. Do not store squash near stored apples or pears do to their ripening effect on the squash. Smaller varieties will last at least 1 month in a cool, dry place. Longer lasting varieties include pink banana, hubbard, sweet meat, sweet mama, turban, butternut, buttercup and golden nugget. Delicate varieties include delicata, sweet dumpling, spaghetti, acorn and danish.


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Roasted Squash Seeds

Bake at 350
1, 2/3 to 2 cups (about 1/2 lb.) winter squash or pumpkin seeds
1, 1/3 cups water
2 T. salt

Place seeds, 1/4 at a time, between 2 towels and rub to remove strings and flesh from seeds. In a colander, rinse seeds well and drain.

In a 1 - 2 quart pan, bring water and salt to boil over high heat. Stir in seeds. Remove from heat and let stand until cool. Cover and chill 12 - 24 hours. Drain seeds and spread evenly in a 10 by 15 inch baking pan. Bake until seeds are dry and crisp throughout, 20-25 minutes for small seeds, 35-40 minutes for large seeds. Stir often. Remove from oven and allow to cool, stirring often. Eat or store airtight at room temperature up to 10 days.


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Cider Roasted Squash

8 cups peeled, seeded winter squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1/4 cup apple juice or cider
2 T. olive oil
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. ground nutmeg or ginger

In a greased, 3 quart rectangular baking dish, combine squash and onion. Combine juice or cider, oil, brown sugar, salt, pepper and spice; pour over vegetables. Bake uncovered, in a 450o oven for 35 minutes or until tender, stirring twice. Makes 8


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Orange Glazed Squash

In a small saucepan melt 1 Tablespoon butter. Stir together 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel and 1/3 cup orange juice. Stir into melted butter. Cook and stir until thickened. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Serve over squash.


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Caramelized Squash

In a saucepan stir together 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon butter, 2 teaspoons water and a dash of ground cinnamon. Cook and stir until bubbly. Serve over squash


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Sausage and Butternut Squash Risotto

1 large butternut squash, seeded, cubed (about 4 cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound ground sausage (remove casing if needed)

2 tablespoons butter

1onion, diced

16 ounces Arborio rice (or any firm short-grain rice)

5 cups chicken stock (or more)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Toss cubed butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sat, and pepper in a bowl. Place on baking sheet. Roast for 20 - 25 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

While squash cooks, brown ground sausage in a pan, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Drain most of the fat, keeping a small amount for flavor, and set aside.

In a large saucepan, saute onion with butter over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add rice and stir until well coated, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of stock and stir constantly until absorbed. Do this with each cup, waiting until stock is absorbed before adding the next cup. After 5 cups, if you feel like you can still add more liquid, add 1/2 cup of water (or stock) at a time until the rice is creamy and the texture is to your liking.

Once rice is cooked, add squash, sausage, and Parmesan, stirring gently so squash stays intact. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a green vegetable like asparagus or brussels sprouts.

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