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Butternut squash in OVEN: not soft !!!

This is my first time trying to cook butternut squash in the oven. I cut it in half, placed on tin foil on cookie sheet and cooked for 60 minutes at 375 degrees.

It wasn't very mushy like I like it, so I put it in for another 60 minutes.

Same thing: not really that soft.

I'm trying to get something in the consistency of baby food (something that would turn to total mush in your mouth).

I normally cook it in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes and it comes out like I like it.

My purpose in trying the oven was to cut down on prep time: when I cook it in the pressure cooker, I peel the skin off and cut into chunks and it's kinda a pain.

Any tips on how to achieve 'mush' in an oven without having to go through all the peeling hassle?

Thanks,
Mike

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  1. I cook butternut squash for an hour or so at 425. Baked squash will never have the same consistency as pressure cooked, which to my mind is a good thing.

    If you microwave it for a few minutes peeling is easier.

    1 Reply
    1. re: magiesmom

      Thanks for the nuke tip. I will certainly try that!

      Mike

    2. Mike- you have lost all the moisture in your dry oven. 2 hours at 375- I'll bet you made Squash Jerky (not a bad idea)..

      If you want easy.. cut in half, de-seed.. put in a baking dish face down.. pour in a 1/2 inch or so of orange juice.. or chicken stock.. or what-have-you.... cover with foil.. and bake at 400. You'll have puree-able squash in 45 minutes (esp if you start with hot liquid and a preheated oven).

      1 Reply
      1. re: e_bone

        sounds delicious!
        Thx!

      2. I too cook bake butternut squash halves because it's easier than peeling and cubing ( I put squash in to dog food, and cook up several squash about once a month). Some squash are certainly more tender than others, and bigger ones take longer to cook. They never get mushy like when boiled. Often they are stringy or grainy. The dog doesn't care! One idea.. My sister always gets pumpkins and roasts them for pie. She puts the cooked pumpkin through a meat grinder to get a smooth texture.

        2 Replies
        1. re: firecooked

          Lucky dog!

          1. re: mike2401

            If only he knew....

        2. Why are you peeling and cubing the eggplant before pressure cooking?

          You just need to halve it (or cut it into chunks small enough to fit in the pressure cooker) and steam it with one cup of water for about 5 minutes - then you can tease out the pulp. For extra-mushy, 10 minutes should be enough, then just scoop the pulp out with a spoon.

          Ciao,

          L

          1 Reply
          1. re: pazzaglia

            It's butternut squash (not eggplant), but I peel it because the whole thing turns to mush in the pressure cooker and the skin would get all mixed in - not good for me.

          2. Wrap it well in foil - the squash's own steam will make it soften faster. trick is just getting the right mixture of caramelization and softness at the same time. If you don't get the caramelization you want, try a higher temp.

            Of course you could just peel and cut it into smaller cubes, but you seem to know that.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cowboyardee

              If wrapped in foil, will the skin be soggy and disintegrate into the flesh when trying to scoop it out?

              1. re: mike2401

                Nope.

            2. I just cook them whole - poke the seed end a few times with a knife so it won't burst and put in the oven on a piece of foil at about 350 until very roasty looking - up to 1.5 hours or more for a big one. The skin will be getting dark spots and it will be bubbling and starting to ooze when done. Remove from oven and let cool a bit - cut, scoop the very soft flesh off the skin, add butter, mash and eat:-) When cooked this way it will have a heavenly caramelized flavor. You can speed the process up by microwaving the whole squash first to get it hot before roasting in the oven.

              1 Reply
              1. re: vday

                Did mine dry out because I halved it? Maybe I should have cooked it whole with a few fork piercings.

              2. I think you cooked it too low and dried it out. I halve mine, scoop out the seeds (my partner roasts those for us to snack on, they are so good!) and then coat the exposed surface with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil (this keeps it from drying out and also makes it sweeter after cooking.) Roast at 425 until it is very soft.

                I like mine very soft, so I will usually leave it in for 45 min to an hour, whatever it takes to get it as soft as I want. My oven has hot spots so I will also turn the cookie sheet around at least once so everything can cook evenly, or else one end of the squash will be softer than the other.

                The other day I roasted two pumpkins together, one a kabocha and one a pie pumpkin. The kabocha took longer to become tender, but tasted much sweeter in the end. I have been doing this a lot lately, as our produce box has been crazy-full of winter squash for months now.

                I used to cook it face down with liquid, but in time I learned that this makes a soggier product and it doesn't taste as good. Then I tried roasting it completely dry, and it wasn't sweet after cooking. Oiling the exposed surfaces got me exactly what I wanted: a sweet but not soggy squash.

                I don't have a pressure cooker (though I want one.) If the pressure cooker turns it out how you like it, there's no need to do it in the oven imo.

                3 Replies
                1. re: reptilegrrl

                  The pressure cooker final product is perfect for me (no need to puree in food processor).

                  I'm just trying to find an easier way to achieve the same result.

                  I guess I will try halved face down in liquid to see if that works better.

                  Thanks everyone!

                  I really appreciate all the great ideas!

                  Mike

                  1. re: mike2401

                    If you don't much care about caramelization and you're just looking for the simplest and easiest method possible to get very soft, scoopable squash, consider just cooking it entirely in the microwave. Poke some holes in it, then microwave for 10-15 minutes (perhaps even more - depends on your microwave and the size of the squash). Let cool for a bit before carefully cutting and scooping.

                    More thoughts on the matter:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/343639

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      Thanks for the great link. I just favorite'd it !

                      I think I'll try my next experiment in the microwave because I agree that: "cutting raw squash is too much work."

                      Mike

                2. As others have said either have it in liquid, foil it, or cover w/ fat to keep it from drying out. The insides scoop out easily then. I find it hard to cut the squash hard so I poke it a few times then microwave, five minutes or so until it softens. The it's easy to cut and remove the seeds but still needs to be cooked further. At that point, it's also easy to remove the skin and cut into chunks for nice roasted butternut squash (coated in oil and seasoning).

                  1. To be clear, you halved it lengthwise, removed the guts, and baked it cut side up? It must be baked cut side down, with just a little water to keep it moist until it starts to release its own liquid. If it wasn't very ripe it could take a lot longer. The flesh is thinner in the belly - cut the neck off once the belly is done, remove it, and continue to bake the neck. Test done-ness by poking a paring knife or skewer into the deepest area.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: greygarious

                      I do not ever bake mine cut side down with water. This results in a soggy squash with less sweetness.

                      Cut side up, lightly oiled, no water :)

                      1. re: reptilegrrl

                        I'd agree with you if the goal was baked squash, where you want a little caramelization on the surface of the flesh, whether or not the cavity is stuffed. But the OP wantscooked rather than baked: mushy, something not eaten right from the shell. In that case, some water - little more than a glaze of it to cover the bottom of the pan - jumpstarts the cooking and maintains the moisture the OP desires.

                        1. re: reptilegrrl

                          I had butternut squash last night- cut side up, butter and brown sugar, baked with a leg of lamb. Delicious, nice firm texture.