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Peeling Butternut Squash

  • r

Anyone have any tips for easy peeling of butternut squash?
Thnx,
Ron

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  1. c
    Carolyn Tillie

    A really sharp knife. Don't even bother with a peeler. Resign yourself to the fact that you are going to lose some flesh (the squash's, not yours, I hope!)

    4 Replies
    1. re: Carolyn Tillie

      Thnx for the response! You've confirmed all of my fears!

      1. re: Ron

        I make a butternut squash soup (from Jane & Michael Stern's Real American Food) for which you HAVE to peel, seed and chop the squash before cooking it. It is NOT hard contrary to what some have implied here. My completely tried-and-true method:

        With a big heavy knife, slice off the very top and bottom of the squash so it'll stand up by itself. Now peel it (downwards is easier) using a really good potato peeler (or a knife if you're antipeelers). I have an OXO good grips that is simply great and you lose no flesh (either your own or the squash's). Now pick up the big heavy knife again and slice downwards to cut the squash in quarters. Scoop out the seeds with an ordinary metal dessert spoon. Now slice the quarters downwards and across to cut in cubes.

        1. re: tamara
          o
          Olympia Jane

          Ditto the OXO Good Grips vegetable peeler comment. That little tool could probably peel laminate off of a table. I treat the peeler with the respect it deserves, having slipped once or twice and peeled myself, but I wouldn't use any other peeler, this one works so much better than any other peeler I have ever used! I thought about posting something about trying the OXO peeler on butternut squash, but since I substitute thin skinned delicata squash whenever butternut is called for, I hadn't tried it myself, so didn't know for SURE if it would work.

          1. re: tamara

            Like you, I lop off the top and bottom and then use a Y peeler which does a fine job to peel the squash. If cubing, I like to then cut off the round head from the solid body so I can work on each piece differently. The solid cylindrical body is easy to plank and cube. I then deal with with round head by slicing in half, deseeding and then planking and cubing.

      2. Only peel the neck. It's a big, solid, regularly shaped chunk of squash and has virtually no seeds, which makes the peeling job not so bad. Be sure to use a very sharp veggie peeler, or, if your knife skills are good (mine aren't up to this), you can cut off the stem end, stand the neck on the other, wider, end, and take off vertical slices of peel with your chef's knife. Just take the round bottom part with the seeds in it, split it in half, scoop out seeds, and cook it skin-on -- the flesh is relatively thin and not worth the trouble of peeling.

        You can also sometimes find "neck pumpkins" in the greenmarkets, which are like a cross between a butternut squash and a giraffe -- the solid, seedless neck is three times as long as a regular butternut's.

        1. Peeling raw winter squash strikes me as being an activity akin to the craft of stonemasonry. I just whack them in half, remove seeds and bake them. After that, you can scoop out and mash the flesh or serve the pieces with the skin on.

          For Danish (aka "acorn") squash, I like to cut in half, seed, then cut each half crosswise into 3 or 4 half-rings, then steam them. This system of cutting them up makes an attractive asset out of the scalloped edge, and you can stretch one squash to feed 3 or 4 people.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sharuf

            But I really like them cubed and roasted

          2. Inspired by you, Rob, I bought a nice fat butternut squash to go with supper tonight. I cut it the long way, scooped out the seeds and put it cut-side down on foil in a 400 degree oven for a bit over an hour. When I took it out the peel was butterscotch brown and came off just like cellophane. I mashed it with cream and some butter and spices. But the point is, it peeled like a scalded tomato. Very nifty. Thanks.

            1. Get a sharp chefs knive. Cut the squash in half length wise and de-seed. Slice this across into about 2" thick slices. Place these on their side on the cutting board (the squash will be resting on the flesh side). Now cut the skin off in small portions, working your way around the circumference of the squash, similar to cutting the rind off of a piece of chesse.