A pressure cooker is a kitchen work-horse. I use one for canning up veggies and fruit from the garden. But you can use it to cook dinner too. It’s like a microwave on the stove.
Winter squash (e.g. Butternut, Acorn, Delicata, Sphagetti) are plentiful right now. It’s a good time to visit the Farmer’s Market and load up.
With a pressure cooker you can quickly fix up batches of squash. It transforms squash into a “mashed” state. Perfect for soups or the freezer. Mash now – eat later.
If you’ve got a pressure cooker you’re ready to go. If not, you can find them pretty inexpensively at places like the Walmarts. Mine came from the GoodWill (it may take a bit of patience to find one at the Goodwill).
Here’s what you’re gonna do:
First grab your squash. Cut of the top and bottom and then cut in half. Scoop out the seeds. Save your seeds for next years garden or feed ‘em to your chickens. Or you neighbors chickens. Chickens like seeds like we like M & Ms.
Cut up enough squash to fill a bit less than half of the pressure cooker.
Add enough water to cover the squash. You don’t want to fill the pot up (with water or squash) because you need room for pressure. If you’ve got a full pot and the pressure builds, well, you get an explosion. Explosions are bad. And messy. And hot. Avoid explosions.
Your pressure cooker will come with a marked weight. Typically they’re marked for 5, 10 and 15 pounds of pressure. When the pressure builds to the weight you’ve picked, it lifts to let steam out. Physics or some kind of magic.
Set the gauge to the 10 pound mark (You should have nifty instructions that give you all the ins and outs of using your pressure cooker. Unless yours is like mine and came from the Goodwill. In that case, Google is your friend.)
Turn the stove on high. Under the pressure cooker of course. Otherwise you might end up with a fire. Like explosions, fire is bad.
Let your pressure cooker get to 10 pounds of pressure – you can see this on the pressure gauge on top of the pot.
Then set your timer for 10 minutes.
When your timer dings – shut your stove off and let things cool down. This can take about 20 minutes. Carefully open the lid of the pressure cooker. Remember – this is hot air. Under pressure. There might be hot hissing steam. Once things are cool enough for you to lift the pot – pour water and squash into a big colander.
Go do something fun. Give the squash time to drain and cool down.
Once it’s comfortable to handle, scoop the squash out of the skin. Like peeling butter. Easy peasy. It’s ready to be turned into something wonderful or put into freezer bags.
Ever used a pressure cooker for something other than canning? Do tell.