Right now in the squash patch, a variety of colors of oval colored globes lay all over the ground. The RIPE ones are golden yellow and hard skinned. Hard enough that you can’t pierce the skin with a fingernail. That hard skin is what makes these squash last for a month on the counter top or longer in a cool storage area. They’re great for getting fresh produce into your diet in the winter.
But…you don’t have to wait for the skin to turn yellow.
Even green soft spaghetti squash cooks up nicely. This makes them a great crop to plant for use in the summer AND through fall and winter. Plant a big patch of them and you’ll have enough to top with fresh pesto and tomato sauces in the summer and hearty preserved sauces and in soups in the winter.
HOW TO COOK SPAGHETTI SQUASH
There are a various ways to cook this versatile fruit.
If you’re one to use a microwave for cooking…
- PUT SEVERAL SMALL SLITS IN THE FLESH ALL THE WAY TO THE CORE
- Place it in the microwave
- Cook it for about 15-20 minutes. It will steam the strands from the inside.It’s a quick way, but MAKE SURE YOU PUNCTURE THE SQUASH or it can explode. (Yes, this has happened to me and it was a mess to clean up!) Alternately, you can puncture and cook the squash whole in a conventional oven at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes.
We’ve recently tried to stop using the microwave to cook our food and because the big oven heats up the house so much in the summer I like to use this convection oven. It’s too small to put the whole squash in, so this next method is the way I prefer.
- Cut the raw squash in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out the seeds and fibrous strands. (I find it easier to separate the fibrous strands and seeds from the meat strands before cooking the squash.)
- Place the two halves face down on a baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 45-60 minutes.
You’ll know it’s done when the outer skin gets softer and dimples. Use a fork to separate the noodle-like strands from the skin.
When the squash is tender, use a fork to separate the noodle-like strands from the skin. If you’ve cooked it whole, you’ll cut it in half lengthwise and scoop the seeds and fibers out and then separate the noodle strands.
Now for the fun part!
Using your squash in your favorite recipes.
My 6 favorite ways to use spaghetti squash:
1. Use the noodles just like you would any pasta. In the summer, we like to make a fresh basil pesto or toss the faux noodles in butter and olive oil with roasted garlic and sea salt and top with garden tomatoes. The kids love it with just butter and salt.
2. Make Chow Mein or other Asian dishes. The ‘noodles’ are soft but slightly crunchy and remind me a little of bean sprouts you would use in Chow Mein, but are a lot thinner. They toss very nicely with vegetables in a wok for stir-fry and are a great vehicle for coconut aminos (or soy sauce if you use it). Here’s an Asian inspired dish from Living Low Carb One Day at a Time.
3. Make a faux noodle soup. Cut the noodles short and use them in your homemade bone broths for texture and flavor without having to roll out sprouted flour noodles. Here’s a great recipe for Sweet and Spicy Squash Noodle Soup from foodloveswriting.com
4. Use the strands in place of shredded potatoes for delicious hash browns or ‘potato’ pancakes. If you’re eating Paleo or GAPS or just watching carbs, spaghetti squash has about 5 grams per half cup where potatoes have about 4 times that many. Check out this Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns recipe from Empowered Sustenance.
5. Use it as a simple side dish in place of rice or potatoes or beans. A little coconut oil and salt and pepper make this into a nice light and colorful companion to your main entree.
6. Roast the seeds! Just like pumpkin seeds, these little things pack a huge nutritional punch( a good source of Protein, Vitamin K, Iron, Copper, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Manganese). They are also tasty when roasted and salted. Some people have trouble getting all the fibers off of the seeds, but rinsing them in a colander and shaking them around a bit has always worked for me. Here’s a great squash seed roasting recipe from Healthy Living How to.