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Is It Okay To Eat Delicata Squash Skin?

Delicata squash pile
Delicata squash pile - Maria T Hoffman/Shutterstock

Delicata squash is a delicious gourd that's versatile enough for savory dishes, but just as well-suited to sweet preparations like tea cake or pie. But a question many home cooks have when cooking with this squash is whether or not they can eat the skin. Believe it or not, the answer lies in the name of the squash, as it refers to its delicate skin. (So that's a yes.)

As compared to other popular squash like spaghetti or even butternut, which have tougher, thicker exteriors and are less desirable for eating (or, in the case of the former, entirely advised against), the outside of delicata squash is thin and tender. Not dissimilar to summer squash or zucchini, delicata's skin will soften enough when cooked that it's easy to bite into and chew. So since the answer to this question is absolutely, yes, there are plenty of opportunities to do just that.

Read more: 12 Vegetables And Fruits That Used To Look Very Different

Why Eat Your Squash Skin?

Roasted delicata squash rings
Roasted delicata squash rings - Clarkandcompany/Getty Images

It's certainly not a requirement to eat the skin when you prepare delicata squash. If you prefer you can still remove it, but there are plenty of good reasons to leave your squash intact -- even beyond the simplicity factor. Not only will it make life a little easier and shave down prep time, but you're also cutting down on food waste, which is good for your budget as well as the planet.

Beyond that, the skin of your squash is a source of additional nutrients. The outer layer contains an abundance of vitamin A and fiber. And of course, perhaps the primary reason to enjoy your squash skin comes down to the simple fact that it's delicious. Once cooked, the skin takes on a pleasantly tender and caramelized texture, making it a nice contrast to the soft and creamy, flavor-packed interior of your squash.

How To Prepare Your Squash

Delicata squash on wooden board
Delicata squash on wooden board - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Delicata squash couldn't be simpler to prepare and can be enjoyed as a snack, side, main, or dessert. It's also an ideal candidate for all different kinds of cooking techniques, from braising to roasting, frying, or air-frying.

No matter which method you prefer, the first step is to remove the seeds. Slicing it in half length-wise will expose the seeds, which you can scoop out along with any stringy bits (and set aside for roasting). From there, you can simply cut your squash into half-moon slices, or bite-sized chunks if you prefer. Roasting requires about 20 to 25 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (don't forget to drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper first). Or, about 12 minutes in an air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit will do the trick. Braising will take a bit longer -- about half an hour to 40 minutes -- but is delicious simmered in cider along with herbs like rosemary.

The sweet flesh of your roasted squash makes a perfect complement to a maitake and barley risotto, or cool it after roasting and incorporate it into a winter greens salad. Thanks to that added texture and flavor of the easy-to-eat and enjoyable outer skin, you can rely on delicata squash to be a go-to crowd-pleaser. The next time you see one at the farmers' market be sure to scoop it up.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.