Learn how to cut butternut squash like a pro! Here are the essential techniques for peeling, cutting, and removing the seeds. Then you can create flavor meals with this versatile ingredient.
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Butternut squash is one ingredient that I tend to gravitate towards whenever I’m looking for meal inspiration during the fall and winter seasons. Don’t be intimidated by the tough outer shell. There’s a beautiful orange flesh inside just waiting to be used in your next recipe.
As part of the species Cucurbita moschata, this type of squash has a mildly sweet flavor and creamy texture that lends an incredible richness to any dish, with health benefits to match. Packed with fiber, beta-carotene which gives it the characteristic orange-yellow tone, vitamin C, and potassium.
STEP 1: Gather your tools
There are three essential tools you need for cutting and peeling butternut squash, a sturdy cutting board, a sharp chef’s knife, and a peeler. Make sure to place a towel or nonslip padding underneath the board, so it does not move around as you cut.
I found that the Y-shaped peeler is the most ergonomic and easy to use for removing the tough skin, but a traditional peeler can work as well. Make sure to wash and dry the gourd before cutting to reduce the chance of microbial contamination from the outer shell.
STEP 2: Cut the ends
Carefully use slight pressure and a sharp knife to cut off the bottom end and stem tip of the squash. The stem is very tough and it’s much safer and easier to squash once you remove it first.
STEP 3: Peel
Use a peeler or paring knife to remove the lighter outer skin of the squash until the orange flesh is revealed. I peel from the thinner stem end down to the more substantial bottom portion for smoothest results.
Then, cut the squash in half near the center where it starts to get wider, creating two pieces: a cylindrical top part and the rounded bottom. Cut the bottom section in half to expose the seeds.
STEP 4: Remove the Seeds
Use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to remove the seeds from the butternut squash. You can clean, dry, and roast the seeds for a healthy savory snack!
STEP 5: Cut into Shapes
Now you’re ready to slice or dice the butternut squash in the desired shape for cooking. Thin rounds are great for casseroles and gratins, while slices are suitable for roasting with other vegetables in high heat. Smaller 1/4-inch dice are great for soups and stews, while larger 1/2 to 1-inch dice can be roasted, steamed, or boiled.
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How to Cut Butternut Squash
- 1 butternut squash
- Wash and thoroughly dry the squash. Gather your tools.
- Place it on a sturdy cutting board. Use a sharp chef’s knife to trim the stem and bottom. If making a roasted whole squash, cut in half lentghwise and then cook.
- Use a peeler or paring knife to peel the thick outer skin. Start at the tapered end and peel down to the more substantial bottom portion.
- Cut in half near the center where it goes from tapered to wider, creating two pieces: a cylindrical top part and the rounded bottom. Cut the bottom section in half lengthwise to expose the seeds.
- Use a large spoon to remove the seeds. If desired, wash, separate and dry them for roasting later.
- Use a chef’s knife to cut the buternut squash into the desired shape. Make thin rounds for gratins and casseroles, or cubes (¼ to 1-inch in size) for roasting, steaming, boiling, or sauteing for side dishes, soups, and stews.
- Chef’s knife
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