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Don’t Shortchange Your Butternut Squash; Keep Peeling

It’s the key to the silkiest squash. Plus, an easy way to cut this bulbous vegetable.
By Published Oct. 17, 2022

Ever roast slices of butternut squash, and despite having removed the skin, the edge of each slice is tough?

The reason is that below the skin sits a white layer of flesh laced with greenish fibers, and this rugged matrix resists turning tender, even with prolonged cooking. 

The Key to Silky Butternut Squash

The fix is simple: Just give the squash a few extra swipes with a vegetable peeler. Removing ⅛ inch of fibrous flesh just below the squash’s skin reveals a pumpkin-orange interior that roasts up tender from edge to edge. 

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Now that you know how to effectively peel butternut squash, don’t let its bulbous shape intimidate you when it comes to cutting it up. Just follow our step-by-step guide.

How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash

1. Trim and Peel: Holding sharp chefs knife with pinch grip, position front part of blade on squash about ¼ inch from stem end. Push down and forward, using length of blade to cut through stem end. Rotate squash 180 degrees and repeat with bottom. Use vegetable peeler to peel skin, removing ⅛ inch of fibrous flesh just below the squashs skin.

2. Divide: Holding bulb with 1 hand and continuing with pinch grip, cut in half where neck and bulb meet.

3. Cut Neck: Stand neck on 1 cut end for stability. Holding piece steady, place tip of knife on squash and apply gentle downward pressure to create even-size planks; thickness will depend on recipe. Rotate planks and cut into even-size pieces according to recipe.

TIP: If the squash neck is longer than 6 inches, cut it in half crosswise to create more-manageable pieces.

4. Deseed Bulb: Stand bulb on 1 cut end for stability. Holding piece steady, apply gentle downward pressure to cut in half. Use spoon to scoop out seeds.

TIP: If the squash neck is longer than 6 inches, cut it in half crosswise to create more-manageable pieces.

5. Cut Bulb: Place each half cut side down. Hold squash with claw grip. Slice squash into even-size wedges according to recipe. As you cut, angle knife and follow curve of squash so each slice is an even thickness. (Knife blade wont be perpendicular to cutting board.) Rotate slices and cut into even-size pieces according to recipe.

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