We can’t imagine fall without gourds – from Halloween to Thanksgiving, we’re all about our pumpkin pie and butternut squash soup. But there’s so much more about this family (the Cucurbitaceae family, should you want to be scientific).
While “gourds” are a hot topic this time of year, gourds themselves aren’t edible, but are part of a much larger plant group that includes fall-favorites like winter squash and pumpkin, says Whole Foods Market Culinary Content Editor, Molly Siegler. “When cutting typically super-hard winter squash, be patient and careful. Choose a large, durable sharp knife and use the tip of the knife to start the cut,” says Siegler. (Flimsy, small or serrated knives will make this process tricky!)
“When it comes to butternut squash, before I start peeling, I like to cut off the round base of the squash (with the seeds) from the longer neck part. Then I use either a knife or vegetable peeler to peel away the skin from both pieces. Save squash seeds and roast them for a yummy, crunchy snack,” says Siegler.
Snacks at the ready.
Go ahead and cut all squash around the same size to make cooking faster and more uniform – this rule applies no matter how you plan to cook it in the end. If you want to cut out a step, lots of stores will sell their butternut squash in pre-cut cubes.
Hard squashes are great for cold-weather cooking.
“They work in soups, warm and cold roasted salads, pastas, casseroles, baked goods or even serve with yogurt and a drizzle of honey,” says Siegler.
Squash puree can add sweetness and moisture to baked goods to cut back on the use of sugar and fat, says Siegler, which is an extra bonus around this rich and indulgent season.