The Basic Ingredient Addition For Perfectly Creamy Roast Squash

If you're a fan of seasonal produce, you likely hold some affection in your heart for that favorite cold-weather category of veggies known as winter squashes. A delicious feature of autumn and winter tables, thick-skinned, dense-fleshed winter squashes (via Food Revolution Network) show up in a huge range of dishes, where their deeply sweet flavor and substantial, filling texture bring comfort at the conclusion of a long, cold day.

Of all the winter squashes, there's no doubt that butternut is the VIP, making appearances in all manner of recipes, from roasted butternut squash salad to maple-roasted butternut squash. Typically, the squash is roasted, bringing out its sweetness, softening its hearty texture, and adding a dimension of nutty flavor. You're probably used to tossing butternut squash in some oil such as olive or coconut, seasoning it with salt, and taking it to the oven, but have you ever tried adding some baking soda to the mix?

A pinch of baking soda turns out extra-creamy, tender squash

Anyone who's wrestled a whole butternut squash in an attempt to peel and deseed it knows that this winter squash has extremely dense flesh, akin to a potato or sweet potato. Sure, the fruit (yes, all squashes are fruits) softens up nicely in the heat, making it a great addition to soups, curries, and mashes, but the process can take some time, and sometimes butternut retains quite a bit of firmness even after being cooked.

If what you're after is creamy, ultra-tender butternut squash, then you'll want to reach for just a bit of baking soda the next time you plan to roast it. According to Serious Eats, adding just ΒΌ teaspoon per every pound of squash, tossed in with the oil and seasonings, helps produce softer squash by breaking down the pectin, a natural fiber in the gourd that contributes to its firm texture.

Incidentally, potatoes, too, are full of pectin, making them a great candidate for the baking soda pre-roasting treatment, according to Insider. So the next time roasted veg are on the menu, grab that box of baking soda before you get to peeling and slicing.