What is delicata squash? It’s a soft-fleshed squash that is versatile and rich in vitamins. You can most often find it at the grocery or the market during the winter, as that is when it is harvested, and it belongs to the same family of summer squash as zucchini, pattypan, and yellow crookneck squash.
Because the outer skin is so soft, you can actually eat it and do not need to peel it. That’s what makes delicata squash one of my favourite squashes to cook with. It is definitely a time saver to not have to cut off or peel the outer skin.
Picking the Right Delicata Squash
I want to show you how to cook delicata squash, but before we get there, let’s talk about choosing a good one for your cooking and then storing it properly. If you don’t have fresh squash that is good for eating, you are missing out. Your squash may lack flavour or may have the wrong texture if you don’t buy it in season or you just pick a bad squash.
How to pick a decent delicata squash? You need to choose one out that is firm. So, when you are shopping for this particular kind of squash in the grocery or the market, just pick it up and give it a little squeeze.
If it has very little give to it, then it should be firm enough to make a good meal. If it feels really soft or kind of mushy and springy, then you should put it back and look for a different one.
Delicata squash can keep for up to three months, if you store it in a cool, dry place. It can be stored with other kinds of vegetables and doesn’t need its own, separate storage area.
Prepping Your Delicata Squash
You probably don’t want to cook up the entire squash at once. It needs to be prepared and cut for cooking, sliced into smaller pieces and the less savory bits tossed out.
I would start by washing the squash and cutting off both ends. You don’t need those. Then start slicing the squash open and scooping out the seeds. You don’t have to toss them out, though, as you can roast them and use them the same way you would use pumpkin seeds.
You can then slice the squash down into manageable pieces for cooking. If you are roasting the squash, you may want to make small wedges, squares, or long pieces. If you are frying it up, then you want to make the squash pieces small enough to fit into the frying pan and to be mixed in with whatever else you are having.
You can even cut the squash into rings, for an attractive design that holds its shape well and that can be used in stir fry, soup, and scrambles.
Delicata Squash- How to Cook
Once you have prepped your delicata squash, it is time to start cooking it up. It cooks easily enough and makes a great addition to larger dishes, combining with other foods well thanks to its firm texture and mostly bland flavour.
It will absorb seasonings and spices well, similarly to potatoes, and you can use it much the same way as well, making it the firmer texture in your dish.
How to cook delicata squash in the oven? This roasting method is fairly simple, and once you have sliced up the squash the way you want it, you need to prep it on a baking sheet. Be sure to preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to cook delicata squash in oven to bring out its authentic flavour without overpowering it? I say keep things simple at first and get to know this squash and enjoy it.
Just drizzle it with some cooking oil or coat it lightly with cooking spray and then add salt and pepper lightly. Roast for about 20 minutes, and then flip the squash pieces over to let them cook on the other side for an additional 15 minutes.
How to cook a delicata squash until it is done? How do you know it is cooked all the way through and good to eat? It should be golden brown on all sides when it is ready. The exterior should be crispy, and the inside should be soft.
You can poke the squash pieces with a fork to determine doneness. There is no health risk that with not cooking the squash enough, so don’t stress about that.
How to cook delicata squash on stove? This is fairly simple as well, and once you have your squash prepped to cook, you just need to put it in the frying pan with a little bit of oil or butter. Once again, just season with salt and pepper sparingly.
That’s all that is needed to make the authentic flavour stand out, and I am a big proponent of trying out the real flavour of a food before you start experimenting with wild flavour combinations that kind of drown out the flavour.
How long to cook delicata squash on the stove for? Cook on a low heat for about 12 minutes. You should turn the squash over and stir regularly so it does not stick and to allow it to cook evenly all over. Once the squash is done, it will turn almost translucent.
How to Cook Delicata Squash in the Microwave
Did you know that you could also make this squash in the microwave? You just need to put your pieces of squash and any seasonings into a microwave safe bowl and cover it.
How to cook delicata squash microwave style? You need to cook it for about eight minutes. If it is done, it should be soft enough that you can puncture it easily with a fork.
If you don’t use the right seasonings and ingredients with your squash, there is a chance that it could dry out in the microwave. How to cook delicata squash in microwave so that it doesn’t dry out and so that it stays succulent and tender?
I suggest cooking the squash with a liquid as well as some other ingredients. You can use vegetable broth or siracha sauce for your liquid, and then season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper, as well as other ingredients.
How to Cook Delicata Squash Whole
You don’t necessarily have to cut up a delicata squash into pieces to cook it. The vegetable could be cooked whole, if you want it to. I would suggest roasting it, if you are going to cook it as a whole squash. This way, it cooks more evenly and thoroughly.
You should set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and roast it for about 25 minutes, until it is soft all the way through and crispy on the outside. You can check it by pushing a knife or fork into the flesh of the squash and seeing if you meet much resistance. If it gives way and lets your utensil slide right in easily, then it should be cooked enough.