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Squash and Fear

I have to share with you, I had butternut squash sitting in my kitchen for literally three months before I could summon up the courage to try peeling one.

Why, I wonder? It’s not a grenade; it’s not likely to explode if I cut into it wrong. I just had a picture of myself, sweating and sticky and cutting my fingers as I attempted to peel the stupid thing with a conventional peeler.

The truth could not have been farther from my fears. In fact, the squash peeled quite easily with the peeler. It has a very thin, though tough skin. I was careful to peel it down to the orange squash itself, making sure I didn’t leave any of the skin on. I cubed up the squash, spread it on a cookie sheet to put in the freezer (individual quick frozen cubes!), and boom, there you go.

How much does fear keep us from doing something new in the kitchen? I enjoy cooking but even so there are some tasks I dread. Sometimes it’s because I don’t know exactly what I’m getting into before I start. In such cases, there’s nothing for it but to try it. Designate one squash a sacrificial squash, and give it a go.

If you’re like me, you’re probably also at least a little afraid of wasting food. It’s really rare, as we’ve said tons of times here at cookcheap.org, that you mess up food so badly it really can’t be eaten. But you don’t want to end up with something unappetizing either. In fact there’s very little that’s worse than food that you just don’t want to eat but could. If it’s clearly burnt, you might feel bad throwing it away, but no one can really blame you. If it’s mushy or flavorless, or you just plain don’t want it in your mouth, you feel way worse about tossing it out and trying again. And when the item represents an investment in your food budget for the week, well, it may make you feel downright sick to your stomach to contemplate ruining it.

That’s why we’re doing this here. Commit to killing that squash. It’s got to go. It’s either it or you. It may be a sacrificial squash; it may be the squash upon which you learn, only to go forward to tastier, better squash and thus upward and onward to a life of good nutrition, cheaper eating, and many a squash conquered by you. But you can’t get there unless you start somewhere. So slaughter that squash.

Here’s a perfectly good video on cleaning and peeling butternut squash I found on youtube. Other types of squash won’t really lend themselves to peeling this way – but butternut, a very common and often inexpensive American squash, works just fine. The cubes cook quite quickly, as in the squash stew previously posted, a pureed soup as we’ve also previously discussed here, or even just as a buttered, roasted side dish more nutritious than potatoes.

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