Winter is the perfect time to try roasted vegetables. Roasting brings out the sugar and sweetness of squash, pumpkins and root vegetables. You can roast winter vegetables in the oven or pan fry them on the stove. Following are some tips that will make cooking winter vegetables quick and easy.
Winter Vegetable Cooking Tips
When purchasing winter vegetables (squash, pumpkins and root vegetables) be sure that they are firm and without soft or brown spots. Squash and pumpkins should feel heavy. Root vegetables should feel firm; not pliable or rubbery.
Carrots, potatoes and parsnips should be peeled, washed and chopped into one inch pieces. They can be pan fried in olive oil or roasted (toss with olive oil, salt and pepper) in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for approximately 20-30 minutes.
Squash – Butternut and Acorn
Squash can be a bit more difficult due to its hard outer skin layer. Butternut squash can be peeled and roasted like root vegetables. Acorn and other squash are best roasted in the oven whole. Prick the acorn squash with a fork and roast on a foil lined pan in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes. Once the squash is soft, you can cut it and scoop out the flesh.
Pumpkins can be treated like butternut squash above. Just be sure you purchase a cooking or “pie” pumpkin. This type of pumpkin is much smaller in size than a carving pumpkin. You can find a quick, easy and delicious pumpkin recipe at wikitalks.
Cooked winter vegetables can also be used in stews and soups. Consider blending cooked butternut squash or pumpkin in a blender; then add water, milk or vegetable broth for a tasty pureed soup.