A large winter squash, the Hubbard is widely available in United States from early autumn to spring. Roasting is the best way to preserve the flavor and nutrition, but you can also boil, saute, microwave or steam it. Supermarkets commonly offer Hubbard squash pre-cut into chunks, because although cooking one is simple, cutting this large, hard-skinned squash presents a challenge because of its size. If you have a whole one, here's how to approach it.
Cut off the stem with a sturdy knife, then cut the Hubbard squash in half. If the squash is difficult to cut, put it on a sturdy cutting board. Place the blade of a sturdy, sharp knife lengthwise along the center of the squash, then use a mallet or a hammer to strike the dull side of the knife until it splits the squash in half. Hit the knife near the handle to prevent breaking the blade.
Cut the halves into manageable, serving-size chunks. Scoop out seeds and stringy pulp with an ice cream scoop or a large metal spoon.
Peel the squash or leave it unpeeled, depending on the cooking method.
Place peeled Hubbard squash chunks in a small amount of simmering water. Cook until the squash is tender -- usually about five minutes -- then drain well.
Steam the squash by placing unpeeled chunks, cut side down, in a steamer or colander inside a large saucepan. Cover the saucepan and steam the squash over gently simmering water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Peel the squash, then grate it or dice it into small chunks for sauteing. Saute the squash in hot butter or oil until it is firm but tender. Cooking time depends on the size of the pieces, but usually eight to 15 minutes is sufficient
Microwave Hubbard squash chunks or halves in a covered microwave-safe dish for six to 10 minutes. The time varies depending on the size of the squash and the strength of your microwave. Allow the squash to stand for at least five minutes after cooking; the temperature continues to rise after the microwave is off.
Roast unpeeled Hubbard squash pieces, cut side down, in a buttered or foil-lined baking dish with about 1/4 inch of water. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, then roast the squash in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Small pieces cook in 15 to 25 minutes, but large halves may require up to an hour.
- The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion; Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
- University of the District of Columbia Cooperative Extension Service, Center for Nutrtion, Diet and Health; Winter Squash
- University of Illinois Extension: Winter Squash
- Utah State University Extension: Cutting Winter Squash
- If a Hubbard squash is small enough to fit in your microwave, cook the squash for one or two minutes to soften the rind and make the squash easier to cut. You can also bake the whole squash long enough to soften the squash. Let the squash cool, then cut it into halves or chunks.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.