How To: Peel a Butternut Squash

We’re highlighting butternut squash as the Ingredient of the Month for November. It’s a favorite of ours not only because it’s delicious, but because it’s also a versatile ingredient. Ease of preparation can be as easy removing the skin and seeds, chopping it up and boiling or steaming. Mash it, stir in a little Kosher salt and pepper and serve it in lieu of mashed potatoes. See the step-by-step instructions below for How To: Peel a Butternut Squash. Don’t be intimated by the tough skin; a good, sharp vegetable peeler easily removes it.


Look for a squash with the stem end still attached and one that is firm and weighty. The outer skin is tough and inedible, but provides a protective coat that allows the squash to be stored in cool, dry spots for weeks, and as a side benefit, it becomes sweeter with storage time. The pear-shaped squash is solid through the neck and the bulbous portion contains a pocket of seeds, which are edible after cleaning and roasting, similar to pumpkin seeds. The flesh color is a vibrant golden yellow, rich in carotene, vitamins A and C and the squash is high in fiber.

Use peeled butternut squash in soups, which can be pureed or left in small cubes, added to stews or salads or tossed with other cut up vegetables, such as red potatoes, shallots, Brussels sprouts, or turnips, a dollop of olive oil and a sprinkling of Kosher salt and pepper. Roast at 350ºF, until caramelized and fork tender, about 45 minutes depending on the size of the vegetables.

Later this month I’ll write a How To: Roast a Butternut Squash.

Step by Step Instructions on Peeling a Butternut Squash

Step One: 

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Wash and dry the squash, then cut off the top and bottom. Notice the moisture beads on the bottom of the squash? That’s why we’ll start by removing the bottom skin first; holding onto the neck with the skin intact is much less slippery.

Step Two:

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Lay the squash on its side, hold it by the neck and peel the bottom skin off by cutting away the rim with a vegetable peeler. Keep going around and around until you get to the neck.

Step Three:

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Peel the neck in long, straight lines and then go over the whole squash to remove any green lines. The squash should be bright yellow; if not you have not peeled enough away.

Step Four:

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Stand the squash up on its wide bottom and with a sharp chef’s knife slice the squash in half lengthwise.

Step Five:

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Lie the squash flat with the cut side up and use a soupspoon to scoop out the seeds.

Step Six:

Small pieces for boiling and puréeing:

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Flip the squash over onto the cut side. Thinly slice crosswise into approximately 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick slices.

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Then cut lengthwise into similar-sized cubes.

Larger pieces for roasting:

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Slice crosswise into one-inch slices.

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Then cut each slice three or four times to get similar-sized pieces.

 

 

 

How To: Peel a Butternut Squash
 
Follow these step-by-step instructions to peel and seed a butternut squash.
Ingredients
  • 1 two and one-half pound butternut squash
Method
  1. Wash and dry the squash, then cut off the top and bottom. Notice the moisture beads on the bottom of the squash? That’s why we’ll start by removing the bottom skin first; holding onto the neck with the skin intact is much less slippery.
  2. Lay the squash on its side, hold it by the neck and peel the bottom skin off by cutting away the rim with a vegetable peeler. Keep going around and around until you get to the neck.
  3. Peel the neck in long, straight lines and then go over the whole squash to remove any green lines. The squash should be bright yellow; if not you have not peeled enough away.
  4. Stand the squash up on its wide bottom and with a sharp chef's knife slice the squash in half lengthwise.
  5. Lie the squash flat with the cut side up and use a soupspoon to scoop out the seeds.
  6. Small pieces for boiling and puréeing:
  7. Flip the squash over onto the cut side. Thinly slice crosswise into approximately ¼ – ½ inch thick slices. Then cut lengthwise into similar-sized cubes.
  8. Larger pieces for roasting:
  9. Slice crosswise into one-inch slices. Then cut each slice three or four times to get similar-sized pieces.

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