It can generally go without saying that there are some foods that are far easier to work with than others, even within the same types of food groups. For instance, you don’t cook all vegetables the exact same way or else you might end up with some vegetables making a mess and others being nearly unable to be eaten.
When it comes to cooking vegetables, it is important to make sure that you are doing everything that you can to help keep your food from turning out in ways you don’t want it to.
One of the many problems that people have with their vegetables is that a lot of them have the tendency to retain water whether you want them to or not. When this happens, it can result in mushy, soggy vegetables that may be thoroughly cooked but have a terrible texture that will not go with any dish.
With these vegetables, there are a few things you will need to pay attention to if you want to make sure that they turn out the way you want them to.
Keeping in mind that all vegetables need to be handled differently and in ways that cater toward the specific vegetable’s differences, it is important to make sure that you are reading up on ways to prepare the vegetables you are working with.
The way you prepare various types of squash is going to differ vastly from carrots, asparagus, or potatoes.
If you are in the mood for a tasty and crunchy fried squash dish, there are a few things that you can do before you prepare the squash to make sure that they will not be a soggy, mushy mess and will instead be crispy and crunchy, exactly the way you want them to be.
Preparing the Squash Properly
One of the most common reasons why squash can become soggy in any cooking recipe is because it was not thoroughly prepared and outside factors influenced the way the dish turned out.
When you are first preparing the squash to cook, here are a few things that you will need to keep in mind.
First and foremost, you will want to make sure that the squash is thoroughly washed so that there is no dirt or anything else that could be problematic on the outside of the squash.
From there, you will want to remove the stem ends. Removing the stems is important as the stems serve practically no culinary use.
From here, you will want to focus on how you prepare the squash. In order to get it in small enough pieces to fry, you will always want to cut the squash up into slices. This not only will make it easier to fry the squash but it will also turn it into bite-sized treats that you can appreciate.
While you are cutting the squash into pieces, there will be a few things to consider. The most important thing for you to be mindful of is that you will need to determine how thick or thin you want your squash slices to be.
The thickness of each slice will determine the likelihood of the squash overcooking and becoming mushy and soggy on the inside.
Typically, the thicker the piece of squash slice is, the less likely it will be that you overcook it as it will take longer to properly cook the center of the slice.
If you want to play things safe and you want to avoid overcooking the squash, you will want to opt for slices a little bit thicker than you normally would.
Taking Care of the Fried Squash
Now that you are ready to begin preparing the squash to be fried, you will want to make sure that the recipe and cooking directions you are working from are going to work out well.
When looking at recipes, it is always important to make sure that you read reviews and ratings of the recipe, if you can. These will give you a good idea of whether or not any changes need to be made during the cooking process and if the recipe is even one that will produce good food.
One thing that many people tend to forget about squash and related vegetables (and fruits) is that even after you remove the vegetables from the heat source, they often continue to cook internally as the heat inside has nowhere to go and its only choice is to be absorbed by the rest of the squash.
What this means for you as the cook is that you will have to gauge how much extra time the squash is going to cook for once you remove it from the fryer.
After you have a good idea of how long the squash will cook for, you will then be able to remove the squash from the fryer earlier, meaning that the residual heat will still cook the squash further but it will not cause the squash to overcook and consequently become mushy and soggy.
Instead, your squash will remain crispy and delicious, offering you the perfect side dish to any meal.
The Cook’s Trick
Because of the high water content in squash, trying to fry it can often be hit or miss. Even if you have the perfect squash and the perfect frying technique, you will still have to be careful.
Whether or not you have been frying squash for decades, a squash can still have a particularly high water content compared to other crops, meaning that when it comes time to put the squash in the fryer, the water can get trapped and cause the interior of the vegetable to become mushy and soggy.
This begs the question of how you deal with the high water content. If there is any material that is good for removing water from objects, it is going to be salt. Salt’s natural properties allow it to draw water out of just about anything even if it is a nearly solid surface.
To help your squash, you will want to place the sliced rounds of squash into a bowl of salt for about half an hour to remove most of the excess moisture. Given how much water is in a squash, you won’t have to worry about drying the squash out completely unless you leave it out for too long.
Instead, you can rest assured knowing that when you take the rounds of squash that were on the salt back to the fryer, you won’t have to worry about them becoming a soggy mess.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.