With the official end of winter (at least according to the calendar), the time has arrived to clean out our cold cellars and other over-winter food storage solutions.
I don’t have a “real” cold cellar, myself. I have cardboard boxes scattered through the basement, where I tried keeping winter squash, garlic, and onions through the coldest and darkest months. I also co-opted an extra fridge (much to the dismay of my electric bill) to stash leeks, cabbages, parsnips and salsify when the ice and snow closed in, making it impossible for them to remain outdoors.
On this day, two days after the spring equinox, one sole item remains, having lasted for almost, I KID YOU NOT, seven months since I harvested it. Beginning of September to almost the end of March. (Counts on fingers again.) Yep, almost seven.
The produce item in question is a mutant. I suspect it is a hybridization of a butternut squash and a trombetta, both of which are cultivars of Cucurbita moschata – which means they can cross-pollinate. And apparently did! If I am correct, the parent plants crossed in 2017; a fruit – which could have been from either parent, as far as I understand – ended up in our rubbish heap; and in 2018 this monstrosity, and several others like it, flourished.
See that guy on the lower right in the Instagram photo below? Same. Squash.
The squash weighs over 8.25 lbs. I think its amazing survival rate in storage was thanks to its skin-to-flesh ratio, for lack of a better phrase. Most of the “real” baby butternut squash (as shown below) caved in quickly – literally – because they lost more moisture due to their small size compared to surface area.
Given how much winter squash we ended up with last fall, everyone. Is. Sick. of. Squash.
Well, except me, but I can’t eat this whole thing by myself! So here is a list of ideas for using excess butternut squash. And no, I don’t *really* have 101 uses to offer, but I must be VERY creative in feeding it (or its mutant offspring) to my family. Also most of these recipes would probably work with other winter squash as well, not just butternut.
By the way, I wanted to make this a “fancy” blog post – you know, where all the recipe links displayed a photo from the original websites? But good grief, all those photos made the post go on FOREVER. I had to keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling… and that annoys me on other websites. So I ditched all the photos. Trust me, if you visit the original pages, you will see gorgeous, mouth-watering photos of the recipes in question!
1. When in doubt, roast it
This Cinnamon Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash is to die for. (Well my kids want to die each time I serve it, anyway.) You could also add some butternut squash into a roasted root vegetables recipe.
2. Stuff It
Although for this approach, you need a “normal” sized butternut squash, not the baby sized squash we mostly grew, nor the monster squash I’m dealing with now!
3. Mash It
I would suggest leaving some chunky texture in the mashed butternut squash, by the way, rather than pureeing it completely smooth.
4. There’s Always Soup
Yes, I know the “lazy squash soup” recipe calls for acorn squash, but I always use butternut squash instead. This is a great use for red onion or an apple that might be past its prime – once it has been roasted then pureed, no one can tell the difference!
5. Or Slow Cooker Soup
Which is just as lazy, in my opinion, but takes longer to cook.
6. Or Exotically Flavored Soup
Assuming you like curry, of course. Not everybody does. Especially my kids. Who thought this was the most unholy soup, combining both squash AND curry.
7. Top a Pizza with It
I mean, unless you have the sort of family that will stage an open revolt if you put vegetables (or fruit) on pizza!
8. Like Lasagna Noodles
9. Or Even Spaghetti Noodles
OK, personally I am not likely to try this one. While I do own a Spiralizer, cleaning it is more work than I care for.
10. As a Substitute for Pumpkin Puree
11. As a Cheese Replacement
Butternut squash lends both color and texture in replacing some or all of the cheese in recipes. I have even started using squash to replace part of the cheese in my go-to broccoli cheddar soup recipe. (Three cups is a LOT of cheese!)
12. As a Partial Sweet Potato Replacement
Butternut squash has fewer calories and carbs per cup than sweet potato, so it’s a great way to lighten up a sweet potato side dish. I wouldn’t use it for all the sweet potato in a recipe though because the difference in taste and texture may be more noticeable. Best not to tell your family if you’re pulling this trick at Thanksgiving Dinner!
13. Remember to Save the Seeds to Roast
For the record, this works MUCH better with large winter squash than my little baby butternuts. The seeds were too thin to bother with.
There you have it! 101 uses (or thirteen, as the case may be) for butternut squash. Now I have too MANY options for how to enjoy this squash… especially since it will be just me eating it!
What garden successes do you find yourself struggling to use up?
I’m not in any rush to use up my “Stuff.” It will still be another two to three months before the potager is really producing quantities of meals, so I’m slowly doling out my butternuts, garlic, onions & potatoes. Am trying to use up more of the frozen foods though because the space will be needed for early peas, snap peas, etc.
Thanks for your comment! I mentioned your approach to my family and they ALL loved the idea of putting the squash back in the cardboard box in the basement!
I think you need a squash eating party! Many mouths make a smaller meal.
I love that idea!
[…] critter. On the right is a plant started from seeds of the Monster Squash I featured on this blog back in March. It hasn’t been thriving like I hoped, so we’ll see if it hangs on. Also, since the […]