The one food prep task we fear is slicing and peeling butternut squash (and all the winter* squashes, but we eat butternut most often).
It’s not the easiest thing to slice and peel, given the force needed to cut through the squash.
Even with a firm cutting board and a super-sharp knife, we face with foreboding the prospect slicing the squash in half.
We put on our oyster-shucking gloves for some hand protection, and wish we had the safety gloves used by construction works.
Before we discovered the following hack, we gritted our teeth, sliced the squash in half in a guillotine-like motion, and baked the halve as is, or with stuffing.
The idea of peeling the butternut was still daunting, if less extremity-threatening.
That’s the back-story.
We recently came across a tip that replaced the fear with a better technique: an easy way to slice winter squash, starting with the microwave and finishing with a sharp, serrated vegetable peeler.
The microwave softens the skin so it’s easy to peel. A good serrated peeler does the rest.
Here’s a video showing how easy it is to do it.
1. CUT off the ends with a super-sharp knife (it’s time to get out your knife sharpener), and use a fork to poke 10-20 holes around the squash.
2. PLACE in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. Let cool before peeling. Then, use your peeler to remove the skin. You can use a knife, but it’s more laborious.
3. DICE, cut rings, or otherwise slice the squash. You’re ready for your recipe!
Remember, you’re paying for the best blade. Two to look at.
Farmers markets and upscale stores like Whole Foods Markets often have winter squash varieties that are not available in most supermarkets.
Here’s a list of well-known and less-known varieties:
> Stuff A Delicata Squash “Vase”
*You can tell winter squash from its thick, hard exterior. You need force in order to slice into it. Summer squash has a thin peel that can be eaten.