Ahhh yes, the Butternut! Squash is to me, what nuts are to squirrels this time of year. In fact we have a major stash as the growing season provided excellent conditions. Just as you do, I love squash! And, for this particular type I have to admit, it's a favorite! Ripe Squash should be firm, evenly colored, and free of discolored blemishes. Freshly harvested this squash sometimes needs a sugering or ripening period for full flavor & color. Proper storage enhances flavor & color. Winter squash is best stored in a cool, dry/low humidity dark place to avoid bloom on the shell (commercial growers sometimes use wax to discourage this). Refridgeration is discouraged as it is COLD & DAMP. Only necessary when shell is removed and of course after cooking. Surface blemishes can be cut out with no real harm to the flavor. When cutting into fresh squash the membrane (stringy stuff holding seeds) and seeds should be moist and colorful. This indicates proper pollination, growth, ripening and storage conditions. In the short growing season we have here in Maine, Butternut Squash Blossoms adorn the perimiter of our Summer garden. In the Fall the golden, full figured fruits are held for months in our cool cellar. We also store (we have many) some in a large 3 tier basket near the kitchen doorway. Anticipation for it's delicate flavor could be one reason we savor some of the beautiful bounty of blossoms in late Spring and early Summer. Dredged in egg wash, flour of your choosing, S&P they are succulent and sweet. A perfect edible garnish for Pasta Premivera!! Traditionally speaking, butternut squash is a staple in our winter diet. Pureed squash is always right at the ready in our fridge or freezer. The versatility and possibilities are endless. True love for the Chefs whim. Used in appetizers, sides, entrees, or desserts, squash is stuffed, steamed, roasted, sauted and yes, gently boiled. The perfect squash puree IMO, cannot be accheived without a food mill. I am extremely turned off by DRY or lumpy, over or undercooked squash of any kind. From a professional standpoint all winter squash can be tricky to peel. And, for that matter can be UNSAFE for the novice. For this, there are acceptable short cuts. Washed, cut in half and seeded the squash can now be placed in a roasting pan cut side down. Add 1/4 in. of boiling water or stock to the pan. Place it in a preheated 350 to 400 degree oven and prick with fork for doneness. Squash should be tender almost as easy to prick as butter. About 20 mins. Remove squash RESERVE COOKING LIQUID, cool just enough to handle unless you have tongs to secure it. Scoop squash out of shell and add to a FOOD MILL! Process squash and check it's consistancy. Add some of the cooking liquid to the puree with a few pats of BUTTER salt & pepper (pepper is optional and not used for sweet puree) continue to add the reserved liquid until preference is achived. How about Creamed Butternut Soup with that puree? Or no time for any of this? Prepare the squash as for roasting grease it up with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and stuff it! I like wild rice and sweet sausage stuffing with the Butternut. Served with a green salad and a good wine this is a beautiful just for two adult meal. For the kiddos my 3 year old (an adventurous eater) will tell you she is not SQUASH ready yet. However, she eats my mac n cheese (laden with squash puree) like there's no tommorrow!
T., I hope this helps.
Thank you for indulging my passions with this question. I have been gardening since the age of two! I keep bees and LOVE cooking as a professional or privately.