Ever since trying spaghetti squash for the first time a few months ago and subsequently making it pretty much my main vegetable upon seeking out vegetables without fibery skins or seeds (my body actually hates any respectable daily intake of fiber in any form… I plan on writing about the topic of individual variance with things like that soon as well!), I have been trying to perfect – nay, ACHIEVE – a method of selecting ones at the store that will turn out best, making the texture and consistency come out right, and getting it to last more than a day in the fridge before transforming into actual garbage.
MY MISTAKES (many from RECOMMENDATIONS!)
Buying smaller, deep yellow ones in an effort to not have much left over to go bad – stringy, soggy, hair-like strands that disintegrate to mush in a day.
Exerting a level of effort equivalent to cutting a tree in half with a knife to cut a spaghetti squash in half before cooking arbitrarily.
Cooking for recommended times.
I tried microwave-cooking a few times – really just makes the liquid inside pool to the part on the bottom and makes that section soggy, no matter how much you rotate it evenly.
Immediately scooping out the guts and forking out the flesh.
Microwaving leftovers to reheat.
Using any type of sauce beyond a tiny pinch to give a bit of flavor.
Now I present to you – after months on the spaghetti squash struggle bus…
HOW TO GET NICE, THICK, NON-SOGGY SPAGHETTI SQUASH STRANDS THAT LAST FOR DAYS IN THE FRIDGE!
Buy the BIGGEST, PALEST one you can find, I’m serious, you actually don’t want a very ripe one – then start early in the day so the process can take its time… don’t worry, it’s mostly you doing nothing.
Using a large knife, jab plenty of holes all over, hard enough to mostly penetrate – the biggest focus throughout this entire process is reducing moisture as much as possible and it starts here.
Cook at 350, turning one quarter every 7 minutes for a total of 28 minutes. Take it out and place on a wire rack if you have one, or just have another oven rack to set across the stove to serve the same purpose, and forget about it for a while.
Once you notice it’s cooled, cut in half, place paper towels under the cooling apparatus to catch seeds/guts, place the halves upside-down to cool further and let the moisture seep out of the flesh a bit, and forget about it again.
Come back later, scrape out the unusable guts from the center (remember to keep the seeds for roasting! Just put them on a sprayed piece of foil, season, and brown in the oven – don’t even have to wash them first), sprinkle salt on the halves to draw out moisture, pack the empty centers with paper towels, place a paper towel flat on the cooling surface, place the halves back face-down, and forget about them yet again while more moisture is pulled out.
When you’re ready to fork out the finished product, remove the paper towels, and the surface of the flesh should be pretty dry. Get the large container you plan on storing it in, and line the whole thing with a generous layer of paper towels to continuously absorb moisture, then sprinkle more salt on the bottom. Now get to forking all the flesh out into strands into the container – since the squash wasn’t bought very ripe and wasn’t cooked as long as usually recommended, it will be a bit harder, but well worth it since the texture will be nicer, it will be much more voluminous because it isn’t soggy, and it will actually last in the fridge. Finish one half, add more salt, mix it well, finish the second half, more salt, mix again, and you’re done. Leave it out uncovered for the rest of the day to further encourage drying.
When you plan on having the leftovers, take the container out (leave that paper towel lining in there until the leftovers are all gone by the way!) and let it de-chill on the counter for a few hours, because you really can’t reheat spaghetti squash for much longer than 20 seconds or so without it seeming to melt into soup and shrink way down to nothing, so you’ll want to get it as close to ‘warm’ as possible before eating. Heat up any ingredients you want to add EXTRA well separately, then add it, and DON’T use sauce or other liquids to flavor, as this is just more moisture that will soggify the spaghetti squash. I will do a spoonful of salsa at most generally, and even that is only non-harmful when the squash is still very fresh. Use dry flavorings like seasonings or cheese – the good news is spaghetti squash takes on flavor very well so you won’t miss sauce, and it won’t be a dry meal since spaghetti squash is notoriously moist even after all these anti-moisture precautions.
I know this was very in-depth but like I said, I spent months reaching this conclusion of combined variables! NOW, GO FORTH AND PROSPER, IT’S TIME FOR A SPAGHETTI SQUASH REVOLUTION!