POPSUGAR Food

How to Peel and Prep a Butternut Squash, Accident-Free

Nov 14 2013 - 11:00am

I've always praised butternut squash for its mild sweetness and versatility — but I was surprised when so many of you said you'd never prepared one before or find it hard to work with. Since it'd be a bummer to miss out on this Fall vegetable at home (unless you're willing to pony up $400 for an automated butternut squash peeler [1]!), I thought I'd help you out with instructions on how to prep it yourself. Here's a step-by-step lesson.

Photo: Nicole Perry

Slice Off the Top and Bottom

To get started, you'll need a sturdy chef's knife, a Y-peeler, a sharp-edged spoon, a cutting board, and a strainer — oh, and a butternut squash, of course. (Check out our selection tips [2].) Be sure to wash the butternut squash. Then begin by slicing off the top of the squash, where the stem stump will be. Create a flat surface by cutting off the bottom, as well.

Photo: Nicole Perry

Split in Half Lengthwise

Set the butternut squash on its flat bottom, and then carefully split the squash in half lengthwise.

Photo: Nicole Perry

Peel the Butternut Squash

Peel the squash from top to bottom using the Y-peeler. Many people peel before cutting the squash in half, but I find it's easier to peel the squash when it lies flat on a large, stable surface.

Photo: Nicole Perry

Scoop Out the Seeds and Pulp

Use a spoon to scoop out the stringy pulp and the seeds. Set aside.

Photo: Nicole Perry

Clean Out Squash

After you've thoroughly scraped the inside of the squash, the center should be smooth, with no stringy pulp whatsoever.

Photo: Nicole Perry

Separate the Seeds From the Pulp

Wash the seeds in a strainer, separating them from as much of the stringy flesh as possible. For a tasty snack, roast the seeds by following the same process as you would to roast pumpkin seeds [3].

Photo: Nicole Perry

Cube the Butternut Squash

To cube the trickier rounded bottom of the squash, slice it into manageable half-moons, and then slice them at an angle for a rough cube.

Photo: Nicole Perry

Admire Your Butternut Squash

Your finished product should look like this. For a simple (and delicious) side dish, toss the cubed squash in olive oil and roast [4], or simmer into soup. I used mine to make a butternut squash and cheddar bread pudding [5]!

Photo: Nicole Perry

Have You Ever Prepped a Butternut Squash Before?

Photo: Nicole Perry


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