When I first delved into low carb cooking I realized I knew next to nothing about cooking a lot of vegetables. A year ago, my typical vegetable side dish was either microwaved corn, potatoes, or salad. I’d occasionally throw a zucchini or broccoli into the rotation, but never branched out too much.
So nearly every new vegetable I’ve explored with, I’ve had to google how to cook with it, or if there were any special instructions. You can imagine my surprise to learn you shouldn’t just throw asparagus in the crisper! For those that don’t know, you should stand it in a shallow dish of water or wrap the ends in wet paper towels. Who knew?!
And, as in the case of nearly any winter squash (pumpkin, spaghetti, butternut, acorn, etc), I learned that the key to cutting/prepping these delicious gourds is to have a very sharp chef’s knife. I actually bought my very first chef’s knife just to cut spaghetti squash. You should have seen the first couple of times I tried to dice a butternut squash with a watermelon knife, a steak knife (my usual go to for dicing anything and everything), and a few random knives I have in my knife drawer. Thirty minutes later – and sometimes blood, sweat, and tears – would have me swearing to never cut another squash again.
And then I discovered the joy of a really sharp, heavy, knife.
Oh my god, it was sooooooo much easier to cut through a squash! No more trying to microwave or bake the dang thing ahead of time (trying to soften the squash), or having a knife slide off the rind and threaten my well being, or the tears of frustration when dinner is two hours later than planned because I struggled with a stupid watermelon knife!
Slice, slice, slice… and done! I can now cut and peel butternut squash in 10 minutes, 15, tops!
When I was prepping my squash for my recent Sausage and Sage Butternut Squash Casserole post, it dawned on me that I could start a How To series that gives instructions on various kitchen techniques. It gives me another angle to write about, and also helps those that may not know how to do these things that seem to come so easy to others.
I’m not the only one, right? I can’t be the only one that has had to look up how to boil an egg, care for my cast iron, or store my asparagus, right?
How To: Cut and Peel Butternut Squash
There is music in the video, so mute your volume (or turn it down) if you don’t want to hear it or would get in trouble for watching a video at work.
1. Using your chef’s knife, cut off both ends of the squash. This will help stabilize it when you slice the squash in half.
2. Using a regular vegetable peeler, peel the outer skin off.
3. Stand the squash on the fatter end, and slice down the middle of the squash.
4. Scoop out the seeds from the base of the squash.
5. Cut off the base of the squash, then make vertical slices along the length of the shaft (I laughed when I typed that, both here and in the video… Yes, I’m 12 years old at heart).
6. Start dicing. I don’t have the best knife skills. I mean, you did just read that I used to do this with a watermelon knife! Different sized bites make eating my food an adventure.
7. Use the same method of dicing on the base.
8. Repeat process with the second half of the squash.
9. Your butternut squash is now ready to use in your favorite recipes!
When I made my casserole the other day, I had about 2 cups of squash leftover that wouldn’t fit in the dish. So I microwaved it the next day with some coconut oil, salt, and pepper. It was a great side to the fish I had for lunch and was so delicious!
As a final thought, I wanted to show you an info-graphic I found on choosing knives for different food/tasks. It’s helped me as a quick visual guide and will hopefully help others too.
I hope everyone enjoyed this How To and learned something new! Feel free to comment below!
Please don’t mind the mess.
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Music – Someone Else’s Memories by Revolution Void is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.