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Day 568: Back to (New) Basics

Saturday, September 05, 2015

...so I'm always telling Himself that cooking is science, and the kitchen is a laboratory: you might have to run several experiments before you get results.

I love butternut squash.

I'd happily use it in everything from soup to side dishes to ersatz lasagna to custard-y pies and all points in between.

But - I hate cutting up butternut squash.

I can't peel the things to save my life. I probably waste more than I use. As for dicing them - hah. My sharpest knives hardly make a dent. I usually have to ask Himself to saw them. (Almost, but not quite, literally.)

What's a flexitarian to do?

Ask Google, of course. And this is the gold the panning produced:

Nuke it.

Yes, that's right, nuke it. Maybe you already knew this. I didn't, and I'm always glad to share the knowledge. All you have to do is cut off either end (the only hard part to this little exercise), poke the squash with a fork (just enough to pierce the skin), and microwave it for anywhere from four to six or seven minutes, depending on the size of the squash.

It won't cook through, though it will start it cooking a little. But it will still feel pretty hard, skin and all. Let it cool for a few minutes, and - voila!

By golly, Mrs Wizard has done it again - that baby peeled in just a couple of minutes, and I was using an old semi-dull knife. The website recommends a "Y-peeler" (variously called a harp peeler, a U-peeler). One of these days I might just get one and try that instead. I might even sharpen the knife.

But I digress.

Meanwhile, the butternut squash has been denuded and more-or-less cubed. It is in the oven roasting with its friends carrots, parsnips, and onions, on its way to becoming soup, even as I type.

Microwave + squash = soup. QED.

p.s. And for those luddites among us, if you don't want to microwave it, you can accomplish much the same thing in your oven. Cut the squash in half and lay the pieces cut-side down on a lightly-greased baking sheet. Bake at about 400F (200C) for twenty / thirty minutes. Let cool and proceed as above. I don't do it this way because: 1) it still poses the cutting problem; 2) it takes more time, both in the cooking and the cooling of it; and most of all 3) it takes a lot more energy. The electric company makes enough money off of me.
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  • KATIE5668
    great tip..thanks !!! emoticon

    are we invited for soup and biscuits?
    2004 days ago
  • VEG954
    I put some holes with a fork or knife, then microwave. Super simple.
    2008 days ago
    Great trick to a difficult process. Just the other day I witnessed someone on TV show how to cut up a watermelon into cubes in the rind---it was amazing. Hope you enjoyed your soup.
    2008 days ago
    I didn't know the microwave trick either. Thanks for sharing.
    2008 days ago
    Thanks so much...I did know about the oven however hadn't thought about the microwave...
    2008 days ago
    I'm the same way. Peeling those squashes are a challenge. For soups I use the frozen. Never tried any other way.
    2008 days ago
    Yeah I go for the already peeled and diced frozen in the grocery store. But glad you have your soup now !!! ENJOY !!!
    emoticon emoticon
    2008 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    Whole Foods here sells bags of organic, peeled, cubed butternut squash.

    2009 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    I remember forty years ago my dad nuked their squash.. a huge microwave, which hubby and I bought from them when we got married in 1979.
    You can have MY share of squash!! The only thing they are good for to me is target practice and deer feed.
    I will eat any fruit or veggie except squash, rutabaga and turnips. ANYTHING!

    Enjoy all of that squash!!
    2009 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14895051
    The internet is an amazing (and sometimes a terrible) thing. I myself have liberally used YouTube as a place to get "how-to" videos of every description. Marvelous!
    2009 days ago
    Thanks for the tip... it took me a while to learn how to peel an avocado. Now I have a leg up on the butternut squash! emoticon
    2009 days ago
    I've never eaten a butternut squash (that I know of) so, I may have to give in a try. Like Christi, I may try it in with my roasted veggies. Seems like a good autumn addition. If it is anything like a spaghetti squash, I know what you mean about cutting them. Those buggers take a lot of strength! I usually take a sharp knife and hit it with a rolling pin to get the job done...crazy, but it works! emoticon
    2009 days ago
    emoticon I have wondered about Nuking those things! ! Most of the time I've resorted to buying the (much more expensive! ) already cubed fellas. Now I will try this!!
    The soup sounds Awesome! !
    emoticon It is amazing what you can learn from Google, LOL! !
    2009 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6687446
    Well, I've just bought veggies for a roast and haven't bought a squash. I don't know what to do with squash so I've never tasted one. But I will pick one up and add it to my roast. If you have a favorite, simple squash recipe, I wouldn't mind if you wanted to share it with me. emoticon
    2009 days ago
    Great info! Even with sharp knives, I have been defeated and have purchased cubed butter nuts to enjoy them, wincing at the extra cost. Wonder how grilled butternut will taste?
    2009 days ago
    Hi Kasey--nice to read yer blog again!!!!--Hot hot here! --They say its the hottest summer on record---Lynda emoticon
    2009 days ago
    2009 days ago
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