Now when I say effortless, this is compared with the "old method" which is this:
1. Scrub the exterior of the squash or Pumpkin, removing any dirt, sand or dried leaves, etc from the skin.
2. Then cut the squash into manageable pieces.
3. Attempting to con or bribe or force anyone and everyone in the house to help you help you peel the squash, which will only leave your fingers a nasty orange hue that will last straight on through to the NEXT holiday. Which is approximately how long it will take before you're even WANT to mess with squash again.
Just kidding, that's how it used to work in MY house. Here's my new favorite method for preparing squash with almost no effort. . .
1 Large Squash or Pumpkin
First, thoroughly wash the squash, make sure that any dirt or dust is completely washed off. Now, there are two ways of doing this, if the squash is huge, or if you prefer to save the seeds for planting (or roasting later), cut the squash/pumpkin in half.
Scoop out the insides, remove any stringy pieces. Place the squash/pumpkin face down on a cookie sheet, add about 1/2 cup of water to the cookie sheet and place in a 350F preheated oven for about an hour and a half.
Once the squash is done, let it cool for a little while. There's really no science to it, you can wait 15 minutes, you can wait 2 hours, it's entirely up to you and how busy you are at the moment.
Use a fork (or spatula, etc) to gently lift up the skin and as you do so, the squash will plop right out of the skin onto your cookie sheet.
As you can see, there is literally NOTHING left in the skin, no waste at all.
At this point, you can whip the squash much like you would mashed potatoes, with a hand mixer or kitchenaid mixer, a dollup of butter, salt and pepper & depending on the type of squash- a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar.
Or, if you're preparing your own pumpkin puree (rather than the canned stuff!) simply blend or mash as above without any added ingredients.
2 1/2- lb.pie pumpkin =1-3/4 cups puree
3 1/2-lb.pie pumpkin=2-1/2 cups puree
6-lb. carving pumpkin=2-3/4 cups puree
5-lb. round pumpkin=3-1/3 cups puree
Alternative method. If the squash isn't too huge, up to 20 lbs, you can wash the exterior of the squash thoroughly and place it on a cookie sheet. (Yes, the entire WHOLE Squash, much like roasting a turkey!) Pop it into the oven at 350F for about 2- 2 1/2 hours.
When it's done the skin of the squash will pop right off. You can cut the squash and scoop out the seeds from the middle.
As you can see, we had well over 100lbs of squash to cook, so we roasted each squash, (some whole, the larger ones we cut first & saved the seeds to plant next year).
What's your favorite type of squash and how do you cook yours?