Old-fashioned Steamed (Winter) Squash

Steamed squash in bowl

Yesterday my husband and I made our annual trip to a farm where the farmer sells pumpkins and squash from a farm wagon. We’ve purchased pumpkins and squash from the same farmer for more than ten years, and always look forward to a conversation about the weather, how young people don’t know that Hubbard squash is a squash, and tend to think of it as a decorative gourd, and so on.

We weren’t disapointed. The farmer had three farm wagons filled with orange, yellow, green, and white pumpkins, and butternut, acorn, Hubbard, and other types of squash.

When I got home, I flipped through my hundred-year-old cookbooks and found a recipe for Steamed (Winter) Squash. The recipe is very simple. Sometimes simple is best. Chunks of squash are steamed, then mashed. Butter, salt, pepper, and a small amount of sugar are then stirred into the squash. The mashed Steamed Squash was delightful. It’s a perfect comfort food, and  brings warm memories of eating a similar vegetable dish when I was a child.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Steamed Squash
Source: Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)

I found this recipe a little difficult to follow, but I interpreted it to mean that fairly large chunks of winter squash that have not been peeled should be put into the steamer. After steaming, the pulp is removed from the squash shell, then mashed.

Since there are no amounts listed in this recipe, I made a judgement about how much of each ingredient to use to make 3-4 servings of the Steamed Squash.

Squash chunks in steamer

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Steamed Winter Squash

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

About 1 pound winter squash (I used 1/2 of a butternut squash)

1 tablespoon butter

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/8 teamspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

Cut squash into large chunks (if necessary remove seeds), each about 4 inches across, Do not peel. Put the chunks of squash in a large pan that contains a steamer. Add water to the pan, so that it comes to just below the steamer. Cover pan. Using high heat, bring water to a boil, then reduce heat so the water continues gently boiling. Keep pan covered and steam until the squash is tender (about 20-30 minutes).  Remove from heat. Using a spoon scrape the squash pulp from the shell. Put into a mixing bowl and mash. Stir in butter, salt, pepper, and sugar. Put in serving bowl and serve immediately.


6 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Steamed (Winter) Squash

  1. I grew quite a few small pumpkins this year. Perfect size to last a meal or two. I cut them into biggish chunks, turn them upside down in a casserole dish, add water to the bottom of the dish, cover, and bake in oven. Pretty much the same as your steam method!

  2. That would save the effort of peeling the unwieldy butternut ones. I have been peeling them, cutting them into little chunks. pouring a little maple syrup over them and air frying them. It is a delicious alternative.(Of course there were no air fryers in 1922!)

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