The alternate title of this blog could be "A lazy girl's intro to homesteading"
There's a good chance that you landed here after talking to me at the farmers market. Hiiiiiiii! Welcome to the wild world of Full Bushel Farmstead.
I was sitting with a friend having coffee and I don't remember exactly what we were talking about when I joked that I could write a book about the fine line between laziness and efficiency.
And that's what I love the most about the North Georgia Candy Roaster squash. Under the smooth and easy to cut skin is one inch of delightfully delicious flesh. The seeds scoop out quite easily, and the yield is high. The other notable thing with my favorite winter squash, is its size. Having a ten pound squash is normal for this massive variety! Once broken down, this behemoth is actually incredibly easy to handle, prepare, cook, and store.
Begin by preheating your oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment for easy cleanup. Quarter the squash, and then place the flat end on the cutting board and cut each piece in half. You will have eight pieces. Scoop the seeds into a bowl. These are thicker than pumpkin seeds and not a great roasting variety, but your chickens will love them!! You can also save them to plant next season ;)
Once you have removed the seeds from all the pieces, lay them on the cookie sheet face up and place in the oven. It's fine if it's not preheated yet. Set the timer for 45 minutes. After your timer goes off, you can check the doneness by inserting a fork into the flesh. It should go in easily.
Allow the squash to cool before handling. Use a knife to separate the skin from the flesh. This should be an easy task and can even be accomplished with a butter knife. I can't resist eating some while it's still warm, with a bit of butter and salt.
You can freeze the flesh for use on another day by cubing it, or pureeing it. You can also make a big batch of soup, freezing the leftovers in individual portions.
But how is this lazy?
The Candy Roaster is my favorite because of the amount of edible flesh you get compared to the amount of work required. Butternut squash have such a hard shell, and very little useable flesh at the bulb end. Acorns have ribs and thin skin that always gets stuck to the flesh. Delicatas are tiny. Hubbards are HUGE. The Candy Roaster is juuuussssst right.
Then once your oven is on and roasting the squash, you might as well fill it up! It takes the same amount of time to roast one little squash, as it takes to roast one giant squash. By knocking out this step of squash prep, you are making future dishes that much easier and accessible.
So what are my favorite dishes?
As a proponent of pasture raised lard, my favorite preparation is to heat a cast iron skillet with a spoonful of lard, then place slices of the squash in there to get a bit crispy. Flip as needed and season with a good salt. Serve on top of a bowl of rice with a spicy chili garlic sauce, kimchi, and the protein of your choice.
Squash soups are classic and easy. A search for "butternut squash soup" will yield more recipes than you thought possible.
Smashed squash is a substitute for mashed potatoes.
Winter squash and pasta with goat cheese is a flavor combo you need to try!
However you decide to enjoy your squash, I guarantee the Candy Roaster will become your favorite too.