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delicata is hard as a rock...now what?

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picked up a delicata squash at the supermarket yesterday.
it is impossible to cut through!
if i leave it out for a while (days? weeks?), will it soften up, or should i just ditch it? (i'm guessing the paper bag trick doesn't work on squash)

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  1. You can nuke it or bake it whole for a bit - that will soften it enough to get a knife through it.

    1. Try puncturing it a few times with the tip of a knife so it doesn't explode, and microwave it in small increments till it's soft enough to cut.

      1. By the time it softens up you probably won't want to eat it. I use a cleaver and a heavy wooden mallet (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...) with the squash held firmly in place so it doesn't slip out of control. I've heard that some folks use a vegetable peeler but I've never tried that.

        2 Replies
        1. re: todao

          You don't nuke it until it's soft, just until you can cut into it (similar to a non-nuked butternut squash). Then take it apart and cook it as you wish.

          1. re: todao

            I'm a fan of the vegetable peeler.

          2. It's absolutely fine. You just have to roast it before trying to cut, peel, or remove the seeds. Just prick it all over as others have said, put on a baking sheet and roast at 400F. Check after 20 minutes to gauge the rest of the roasting time. When it feels tender, take it out and let cool a bit. It will be easy to cut and peel.

            1. I'm throwin' away my mallet ....
              Old dogs can learn new tricks. : D

              5 Replies
              1. re: todao

                I love the microwave for all hard squashes (poke w/ knife, do 2-3 minute increments. I found that I'd get stuck with the knife halfway through, not be able to finish it off, or pull the knife out, even if I used the mallet.

                1. re: todao

                  That mallet/cleaver approach is my technique for hubbard.

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    thanks, all squash experts!
                    i thought that the whole point of a delicata was that it was easier to slice through than those other big bad guys. this thing is too hard to even get the point of a knife in to poke holes.
                    i am going to try the very-short-increment nuke approach. if it explodes, i'll have something else to post about.

                    1. re: rudysmom

                      If you can't poke holes, do what you can and microwave in short (not too short) increments. Poke holes when you can, as it softens. The mallet on a sharp knife might help, too, to poke holes.

                      1. re: chowser

                        Ice pick?

                2. Delicata is supposed to have a thinner, more tender skin than other winter squash. I've only cooked it a few times and not in several years, but that's my recollection of the ones I bought. I wonder if the OP's squash is really a delicata and not some other type. If it IS delicata, it was likely picked too early.

                  1. That's really interesting. I have a REALLY hard time cutting through butternet and kabocha squashes when they are raw, but with a sharp heavy knife I have no trouble cutting raw delicata into 1/2 inch circles. Are you sure you have a delicata?