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For people who are unfamiliar with cooking butternut squash, the idea of preparing it can seem intimidating at first. This is particularly true when it is necessary to cube butternut squash for a specific recipe. To cube butternut squash it must be washed, cut, peeled, and seeded. Each section is then cut into slices and then cubes. While cubing this winter squash may take a little extra time, the nutritional value and its appealing taste makes it worth the effort.
When preparing to cube butternut squash, the outer skin will need to be taken care of first. Unlike some winter squash, the skin of the butternut is not edible. It must be cleaned to prevent surface bacteria from entering the squash when it is cut. Scrub the skin using a vegetable brush under warm, running water.
Cutting the squash in half will make it easier to handle while it is being peeled. One end of the butternut squash is fat and rounded, while the other end is thinner and more elongated. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash completely in half at the point where the thinner part of the squash begins to round out into the more bulbous end. Take a vegetable peeler or a small, sharp knife, and peel away the skin of the squash.
Place the fatter end on a cutting surface and cut it in half. Using a rounded spoon, scoop out all of the seeds. Continue cleaning out all of the seeds and the pulp until there is an empty, shallow hole at the center. Do the same for the other half of the rounded end.
Turn one of the cleaned out ends over so that it is laying face down on the cutting surface. Cut the squash lengthwise into slices, but do not separate them. Keeping the slices together, cut across them width-wise to create cubes. If necessary, cut the thicker pieces in half.
Lay the longer half of the butternut squash on the cutting surface and begin to cut it into slices. The thickness of these slices will dictate how thick the cubes will be. After the entire section has been cut into round slices, stack two or three of them together. Cut into the stack lengthwise to create several more slices. Hold them to keep them together.
To cube butternut squash correctly, it is necessary to cut width-wise next. This will turn the stack of slices into a stack of butternut squash cubes. Move the completed cubes aside and create another stack of squash slices. Continue until all of the slices have been cubed.
Whether we want to think about it or not, Thanksgiving is only a little over 3 weeks away! Trust me, I’m just as confused where time has gone this year.
Even if you aren’t involved with Thanksgiving cooking and simply want to enjoy fall’s bounty of produce, I wanted to go over how to peel and cube a butternut squash without losing a finger (or two). I first put a little guide together in my recipe for Roasted Brown Butter and Sage Butternut Squash, but I figured I should do an entirely separate guide for this for all my new readers and for those who might have missed that recipe!
Squash can be oddly intimidating, especially for someone who doesn’t spend too much time in the kitchen. Breaking one down can seem too difficult, and a lot of us resort to using the canned stuff.
While I have no qualms about taking my shortcuts where I can and using the canned stuff sometimes, using a fresh squash while in season is so worth the extra 5 minutes to break it down.
All you need is a sharp chef’s knife, a good veggie peeler (my favorite HERE), and a non-slip sturdy work surface.
PS.. I know my hands aren’t holding the squash steady in these photos below like I indicate to do in these directions, but that’s because I was just pausing to shoot photos. Always make sure you have a good grip!
TIP: Wear dishwashing gloves if you want a better grip on the squash if too slippery for you.
How do you soften cubed butternut squash?
Steamed butternut squash ( cubes ) Cooking small butternut squash pieces is a quick way to soften the flesh without any additional oil if you’re looking for a low-fat method. The superheated steam generated from boiling water (100°C or 212°F) in a covered pot can cook the vegetable in 10 minutes or less.
Is it better to steam or boil butternut squash?
Steaming (or boiling ) peeled chunks of the butternut squash on the stove top until tender is definitely the quickest method for preparing Butternut Squash Purée. We simply seasoned it with butter, salt and pepper – and the result is a super creamy, silky-textured purée.
How long does it take to steam cubed butternut squash?
Arrange 1 pound (453 g) of cubed butternut squash in the steamer basket. Put a tight fitting lid on the pot and turn the heat on to medium-high. Bring the water in the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat and steam the squash for 10 to 12 minutes.
How do you cook unripe butternut squash?
Roasted Green Butternut Squash Slices Wash and peel the squash. Cut in half and clean out the seed cavity. Slice the butternut into 1/2 inch slices. Toss the slices with olive oil, basil and garlic salt. Lay out the squash slices on an oiled cookie sheet. No overlapping. Bake in a 350 degree oven until tender.
How long does butternut squash take to soften?
Cook Whole in the Oven Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and place flesh side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 F for 30 to 40 minutes. The squash will be soft and tender when it has cooked through.
Can you microwave butternut squash to soften it?
We ‘ve got an amazing trick that makes peeling butternut squash so much easier. Stick the squash in the microwave to soften the skin before peeling. Just a few minutes in the microwave means you don’t have to worry about chopping off a finger when you ‘re hacking at that rock-hard exterior.
How do you steam butternut squash in the oven?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place squash, cut sides down, in a 9×13 baking dish. Pour water into dish around squash halves. Bake in the preheated oven until tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 1 1/2 hours.
Can you boil butternut squash with the skin on?
To boil butternut squash, first peel off its tough outer skin, and then remove the seeds. Cube the squash, place it in a pot of boiling water, and cook until fork-tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.
How long do you steam squash for?
Place squash in a steamer basket or colander and sprinkle with salt. Place basket or colander in pot and cover. Do not reduce heat. Allow to steam for about 7-10 minutes, until you can pierce with a fork.
How do you steam squash on the stove?
Bring 1 inch of water to boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add squash. Cover and steam until very tender, about 15 minutes.
How do you eat butternut squash?
Roast them with a little oil, salt and any combination of spices you want, or turn them into pesto. Cookies: The original recipes for these spice cookies made with whole wheat flour calls for pumpkin, but equal parts butternut squash puree can be substituted for pumpkin puree.
Can you eat butternut squash raw?
Yes, you can eat butternut squash raw: Thinly shave it into ribbons and marinate it in a zesty dressing and it’s a refreshing and fun new side recipe for your fall table.
What can you do with unripe butternut squash?
But what to do with squash that is not ripe? You can continue to ripen unripe squash by bringing them inside, washing them off and putting them in a sunny spot. You watch them carefully, turning them occasionally until they reach the proper color for eating.
What is the best way to ripen butternut squash?
Place the butternut squash in a sunny location in your home. Squash must have sunlight in order to ripen. If left with no sunlight, squash will remain unripened. Turn the squash over periodically so that all sides of the vegetable get adequate sunlight to ripen.
What if butternut squash is not ripe?
A ripe butternut squash should be a dark shade of beige. Its skin should have a matte look. Not ripe yet. It’s okay if it has blemishes — just make sure there’s no cuts on the squash.
Butternut squash is probably the most popular, versatile and accessible winter squash out there. And with good reason!
It’s delicious and nutritious! This dark beige, bell shaped squash has beautiful bright orange flesh inside. The neck portion is all edible flesh while the bulb has a seed cavity with few seeds.
FOUR REASONS WHY I LOVE BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Butternut squash has a lovely mild, slightly sweet flavor. I like that it’s not quite as sweet as sweet potatoes. The sweetness develops with age – so the longer you can let it ripen on the vine, the tastier. In the store, look for an even dark beige color all over without any tinges of green. Its versatile flavor can be used for sweet or savory dishes. Here are a few spice combinations to try with butternut.
- salt and pepper
- Cajun seasoning
- Italian seasoning
- Chili lime seasoning
- Taco seasoning
- Cumin and coriander
- Fresh or dried herbs – rosemary, thyme, sage or oregano
- Paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ginger & cloves
- Parmesan or Nutritional Yeast with your favorite herbs
- brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger
- maple syrup and butter
Butternut has a nice smooth texture without any stringy bits. Unlike pumpkin, it is not watery at all. It makes a perfectly smooth puree that can be used for sweet or savory dishes. Try it instead of mashed potatoes (or mixed in with mashed potatoes) or instead of sweet potatoes. For sweet variations use the puree anywhere you would use pumpkin puree – pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin scones, pumpkin fruit leather, pumpkin squares and even pumpkin pie. Cool fact – a lot of commercial pumpkin pies actually include butternut squash puree because of its texture and sweet taste. Click here to learn how to make puree.
3. It’s Easy to Work With
Butternut is a nice manageable size, is relatively easy to cut and is easy to peel. You can peel butternut with a vegetable peeler or with a sharp knife. Check out my YouTube Video on How to Cut, Peel and Cube Butternut Squash.
4. It’s Verstatile
Whether you want roasted cubes, a squash for stuffing or a lovely puree – butternut is there to serve. Soup, salad, entree, side dish, dessert, beverage – it’s tough to think of a course that can’t include butternut!
Roasted butternut squash cubes in salad with pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and feta.
HOW TO CUT, PEEL and CUBE BUTTERNUT
Here’s a written recipe and a little YouTube video I made to show how to cut, peel, cube and roast butternut.
How to Cut, Peel, Cube and Roast Butternut Squash
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Tried this recipe? Share a photo and tag #getgettys on Instagram!
How to Freeze Butternut Squash
For my family of four, one butternut is usually enough for two different recipes. If I’m super energetic, I’ll make two recipes at once – roast half the cubes and use the other half in soup or chili. But I’m not always that energetic! When I have more butternut cubes than I can use, I freeze them. It’s super easy.
Take butternut cubes. Place in freezer bag. Label and seal. Use within 3 months.
Use just like you would raw squash. You don’t even need to thaw the squash, just extend the overall cooking time a little. For roasted frozen squash, preheat your pan and your oven so you get nice crispy results.
Uses for Cubed Butternut
Interested in more articles and recipes for winter squash? Check out the following or type “Squash” in the Search field and be inspired!
Oh, one final little tidbit. When you cut squash and work with it raw, you may feel your fingers get a weird drying out sensation. That’s totally normal! When cut, squash will release a sap to protect itself by drying out the area. It’s a self healing mechanism. I think that’s so amazing. When this sap gets on your fingers, it will work it’s drying out magic on you. It’s not always noticeable, but if you’ve ever had a weird sensation after cutting squash that’s what it is. Nothing to be alarmed about. Wash it off with soap and water and a little scrubbing. If that doesn’t work, try a little lemon juice.
When cut, squash releases a natural sap to cover and dry out the wound. This sap may also make your fingers feel like they’re drying out. There’s no danger, just wash it off.
Now you tell me, what’s your favorite way to use butternut? Leave a comment here or on social media, I’m on instagram @getgettys and Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.