guys! guys, i figured it out! i figured out how to peel a butternut squash without sending it flying violently into the sink and maybe even at the window above the sink, on a really slippery day. if this doesn’t sound like an achievement to you, that tells me one of three things. either 1) you’ve never tried to peel a butternut squash, 2) you are way more macgyver-y than me, or 3) you work in a dentist’s office.
to give myself some credit, i did figure out a while ago that it worked better (not to be confused with well) if i peeled the skinny end first so that when i was holding the slippery peeled end, it was at least the end that i could get my hand around reasonably well. this led to less accidental squash throwing and subsequent curses, but not none.
a few days ago, i peeled a squash using this method, nearly flung it through the window above the sink (whoops!), and also immediately developed a crazy, peeling rash on the hand that held the squash (i know, nothing like a little talk of skin rashes on a recipe blog…). in an attempt to avoid, oh, ALL of these things this time, i started thinking about what i could do to protect my hand and get a better grip on the squash.
after a particularly painful night years ago spent trying to fall asleep with cold, wet paper towels wrapped around my fingers, i now wear disposable gloves when i handle jalapeños and other hot peppers. i considered doing the same here but worried that i would have even less grip on the ‘slippery little suckers’ (pretty woman? anyone?).
after ruling out gloves (but not before debating the merits of spiked gloves, like cleats for your hands, with my husband), i had an inspiration, courtesy of the dentist. you know how when you go to the dentist and they need to move your tongue out of the way they wrap it in gauze so they can maintain their hold? (this just keeps getting more appetizing…) ‘liiiightbulb’. (now we’re on to despicable me – aka my husband’s favorite movie.)
a paper towel wrapped around the peeled end of the squash is magical. truly. not even once did the squash even think about trying to sneak out of my hand. it’s amazing. i’m basically feeling like the smartest person there ever once was right about now. (feel free to not send me links to the 1,839,290 tutorials/videos/tips online that mention this original idea that i just discovered for the first time ever…)
i should mention, a super sharp peeler is key (i love this one affiliate link*), and now it’s actually possible to apply it to its task without fear of bodily or property damage. winning. and while we’re talking about equipment, a sharp, sturdy chef’s knife (my absolute favorite affiliate link*) is essential to cut butternut squash and a grapefruit spoon (any old one is fine) is really handy for scooping the seeds and goop out.
so, yeah. squash season (also known as ¾ of the year here in maine…) is looking a whole lot brighter, especially since we won’t have a piece of plywood covering the kitchen window with a butternut squash shaped hole it in…
so now that we all know how to peel and cut butternut squash, if you’re looking to put your newfound butternut-squash-peeling-prowess to use, may i suggest butternut squash, sage, and goat cheese pizza (a long time favorite), cider glazed chicken with mushrooms and butternut squash (the photos are ugly and the recipe is delicious), roasted butternut squash salad, kale and roasted butternut squash salad (what? we already established squash season is looooong. there’s plenty of time for more than one salad with squash.), ooooor stay tuned for butternut squash and black bean enchiladas on thursday. yum!
- butternut squash, whatever size your recipe calls for
- sharp vegetable peeler (affiliate*)
- sharp, sturdy chef’s knife (affiliate*)
- grapefruit spoon, optional but very helpful
- wash and dry the squash. hold the larger, bulbous end of the squash in one hand and use the peeler to peel all the way around the narrower end of the squash first. order of operations is important here for grip. wrap a clean paper towel around the peeled, narrower end of the squash so that you can grip it securely while you use the peeler to peel the bulbous end.
- set the squash down on a cutting board. use the sharp knife to cut off both ends of the squash so that you can set the fatter side down flat and have the squash sit upright without wobbling too much. do that (sit it upright).
- use the sharp knife to cut down the center of the squash so that you now have two long halves. use the grapefruit spoon to scoop the seeds and goop out. (you can save and roast the seeds if you wish; the outer hull is pretty chewy.)
- if your recipe instructs you to cut the squash into cubes, set the squash flat, cut side down on the cutting board. cut rings/segments of desired width. cut the rings into cubes and cut the semi circles into cubes; not every piece will be a square, which is usually fine.
- cook as directed (on a rimmed baking sheet at 400° F for 15 – 20 minutes with a little olive oil and a stir midway is my go to).
*please note this page contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking from here, i will earn a small commission from amazon at no additional charge to you. i only link to products that i use and love. thank you for supporting tasty seasons!