This is my first year growing Butternut squash. We have about 5 nice looking squash on the vines. I picked the first one and cooked it today, but it was very dry!
What cause the squash to be dry?
I just finished reading many catalog descriptions of winter squash. In those descriptions, dry flesh is considered an asset. I agree with that.
How did the dryness of your squash compare to purchased squash? Drier than that?
How do you like your squash cooked? I like to put it in a medium oven, either whole or split in half and seeds scraped out. Bake until soft. Scrape out seeds if it was baked whole. Scrape the flesh out and mix in butter, salt and pepper.
The flavor also improves drammatically after curing for a couple of weeks. They are not nearly as good, fresh picked.
Dryness is also an asset for long storage. Butternuts keep with good quality all Winter, Spring and maybe more. That's pretty impressive, and useful.
Most squashes are at their "driest" immediately after harvest... not in terms of their moisture content, but in their cooked consistency. At this point (provided the squash was fully ripe) the starch content is very high, and the cooked texture will resemble mashed potatoes. So if you cooked a fresh-picked squash, Casey, that was probably the reason for the dryness.
Personally, I prefer squash at this stage, when it can be used as the starch in a meal. I leave them on the vine as long as possible to preserve their starch content, and also to allow the seeds to fatten up for seed saving.
Once a squash has been separated from the vine, the starch begins the process of conversion to sugars. The squash becomes sweeter, and the consistency (when cooked) begins to soften. Some prefer their squash in this stage... and if they have always eaten winter squash after it has aged, it may be that the soft, sweet stage is all they know.
It comes down, I suppose, to personal preference. I like acorn squash when fresh-picked, and hubbards & buttercups after they have aged.
Thanks, zeedman. I learned something useful from that.
tcstoehr ---so if the butternut squash keeps so well, can you tell me why the store bought ones don't...are they already really old? i try to store them in my cool dark pantry?
My guess is that the store bought butternuts don't keep as well due to the handling they have received before they arrive in your pantry. The same thing is true of store bought sweet potatoes. Their quality is generally lower because they've been moved and bumped around considerably.