The earthy, nutty flavor of butternut squash is perfectly comforting on a cold autumn day. If you are not used to cooking with this rich, delicious squash, it can be difficult to know what to even do with it. Follow these simple steps to cutting and prepping a butternut squash and you’ll be on your way to pro squash chef status in no time!
The steps outlined in this post can be used on other kinds of squash as well. The only one that you need to treat very differently is spaghetti squash, which must be roasted with the skin still on.
When you have mastered these basic steps for prepping butternut squash, you’ll be able to easily cook it in a ton of different ways—roast it in the oven, cook it on the stove, add it to soups, stews, and even baking.
Step one is knowing which squash you are buying in the first place. Butternut squash have very pale skin and are oblong in shape with one end fatter than the other. Choose a squash that feels firm and has no soft spots or noticeable damage on the outside.
Lay your squash out onto the cutting board and slice off the two “eyes” of the squash, one at the top and one at the bottom.
Stand up the squash so that the cut bottom side is facing down. Slice straight down through the whole squash from top to bottom so that it is in two equal halves.
The wider bottom end contains the seeds. Scoop them out and scrape the soft membrane out of the squash so that it looks clean and only the firm flesh is left.
Remove all of the skin from each half using a vegetable peeler.
You may bake the squash like this if you want to, or you may want to cut it into smaller cubes. To do this, slice both halves evenly and then cut the slices into small chunks.
Now you are ready to prepare the squash in any way you please, but the most common and simplest thing to do is to roast it. Lay the pieces of squash out on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper to taste and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the squash feels soft throughout.
Eat the roast squash as is or add it to any dish you like.
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