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How do you peel an acorn squash?

So I've never cooked with acorn squash before, and I'm going to be making a dish in the slow cooker that calls for peeled, seeded and diced acorn squash. It occurred to me that it might be a challenge to peel it, especially since the sides of it are not straight and uniform.
What's the best method to do this?

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  1. That's a good question - I would probably try to cut it into wedges like a melon and then peel the wedges individually. Kind of like breaking it up into more manageable pieces with more of the flat surfaces revealed....

    1. Cut the squash in half at the equator, scoop out the seeds and then slice the halves crosswise (parallel with first cut) into one-inch rings. Lay a ring flat on your cutting board and use your chef's knife or another sturdy blade to cut off the skin around the squash ring. Don't even think about using a vegetable peeler or trying to peel the whole squash uncut - you'll lose the skin off your knuckles or even worse!

      3 Replies
      1. re: janniecooks

        When my Moroccan friends use it in tagines they only peel the higher up part and leave the indented part of the skin on and it looks really cool b/c it's striped. Then it’s cut in quarters and the seeds scooped out. The tough skin that is left on gets pretty tender once it is cooked, so people can peel it off on their own one it is served.

        1. re: Mel.D

          If you place it in boiling water for about 3 min. it will peel very easily

          1. re: Analisas mom

            Briefly microwaving acorn, butternut, and other hard squashes also works.

      2. I don't peel acorn squash usually because I don;t mind the skin - my husband takes it off once it is cooked. When I do peel I often partially peel as mentioned, with a peeler and just peeling the higher parts of the flesh - it works fine. Just served some last night partially peeled, and don't know that anyone at the dinner party noticed the skin. When I peel it all, I use a knife, but you waste squash and time.

        1. Cut it into strips (or at least quarters). Then boil it for a few minutes. Then the skin comes off like a charm.

          1. I cut the bottom and top off to create two sturdy, flat bases. Then firmly lean on/hold the top flat side and cut the sksin downwards on the bottom half with one of my heavier knives; turn over and repeat. Then cut up and de-seed.

            1. very carefully! Winer squash can be tough to peel, which if I do I do with a heavy knife, a peeler just doesn't work for me. If you want to make it easier they sell peeled chunk squash in the freezer section, or buy something like a butternut and try wih something like that at first which is a little easier to peel. Lots of winter squashes can be subed for the others.

              1. I never thought to peel it and I've been roasting acrorn squash for more years than I care to acknowledge.. I cut in half, scoop out the seeds, then slice it in 1+" rounds.
                EVOO and maple syrup drizzled over top, a dash of S & P and baked till soft is very tasty.

                1. After nearly taking off a good chunk of my finger with a peeler, I developed a foolproof method that works for me every single time: Substitute butternut squash. It's easier and safer to peel.

                  1. I faced the same dilemma when I was making a dish of roasted winter vegetables. I started to peel the acorn squash which was ridiculously frustrating, and then I looked at the photo of the finished dish and the peel was still on the squash. So I left it because I had a million other things to do - I was making Thanksgiving dinner for 25!! The vegetables were my favorite side, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the peel was absolutely unnoticeable and edible.

                    1. There are only two sensible ways to deal with acorn squash. There's the traditional cut-in-half and bake it. And then there's decoratively steamed scalloped slices. What you do is cut the squash in half, length-wise, and then cut crosswise into scalloped-edge half moon slices. Steam these. They look very nice on a plate.

                      1. for years i baked acorn squash. now i have found a fast and effective way to get the meat out of the skin in much less time than oven baking. using an ice pick, pierce 2 holes in every other rib valley thru to seedy center (one each at 1 to 2 inches from stem and bottom button). this is the most effective tool to use and will allow steam to escape while cooking. this process is very similar to microwave baking potatos. place entire squash on its side (making sure some steam holes are always exposed) onto wax paper over a paper plate in the microwave oven. cook on hi power for 10-15 min. bottom side should start to sag a bit and be semi-soft to finger pressing. be careful it is really hot!! turn over and cook additional 10-15min on reverse side. when you can press indent into side with your finger it is done enough to let cool and cut open, deseed, and carefully scoop out your meat with a spoon leaving the skin behind. time and microwave watts vary, so start with 10 min and proceed. you can always flip it to ribs, not rested on bottom yet, and cook additional time until obvious sagging/softeness takes place. at this stage, a fork will easily pierce for doneness as well. you now have soft lucious meat for that wonderful smooth creamy soup.

                        1. Before I do anything with my squash I microwave it for 2 - 3 minutes before cutting it. It does not need any steam vents in it as the amount of time is just enough to warm the gourd to make it softer and easier to peel.

                          The Mad Ape
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