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janbb's avatar

Is butternut squash really hard before you cook it?

Asked by janbb (55356points) January 6th, 2019

I’m making soup of it for the first time and it was difficult to peel and very firm to cut. Is it supposed to be that way?

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9 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

Yes. It takes some muscle. I love it, though, so it’s worth the effort.

My father used to be responsible for peeling it and cutting it up. I think he did it the hard way, peeling it section by one-inch section with a knife. That means cutting through the shell a lot of times. My family always had it at Thanksgiving, and at other times it was a special treat.

Now I scrape off a couple of layers of the shell with a vegetable peeler and then slice through sections of it with brute force. I also make them thicker, about 1½”, so there aren’t so many. Then I cut the slices into largeish chunks.

I’ve never made soup with it. I boil the chunks until tender, then mash them up like potatoes, adding some butter and a little salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It’s a fine side dish with roast turkey and also goes with anything you’d serve with yams.

Zaku's avatar

I do well skinning them using a sharp cleaver.

My second choice which also works ok is a potato peeler.

I use them in risotto.

zenvelo's avatar

Yep, they can be tough buggers.

I have a butternut squash soup recipe that is great, it involves simmering the peeled and medium diced squash chunks in chicken broth for about 45 minutes to soften it up.

janbb's avatar

@zenvelo It’s a simmering now. I added a few carrots and cumin and nutmeg – will add more if needed after it cooks.

Kardamom's avatar

Yes, it is very hard, but not quite as hard as those smaller acorn squashes. What I usually do is use a very large heavy sharp knife, not a cleaver, and cut the top end and the bottom end off. It’s easier to peel when it has a flat bottom, so you can stand it up. Then I use a regular vegetable peeler to remove the skin, then I go about cutting it in half, very carefully. It’s easier to cut when the skin is removed first. Then I scoop out the seeds (I prepare and roast these just like pumpkin seeds).

When I make soup with butternut squash, I cut the pieces into 2 or 3 inch cubes, coat them in a little bit of olive oil, and salt & pepper, then roast them in the oven for 15 or 20 minutes until they soften. Then I put them in the blender (a food processor would be better and I need to get one) along with some vegetable broth, and puree the mixture. Then I transfer it to a stock pot and heat it up. Depending upon what I have on hand, I might also add in some jarred roasted red bell peppers, or fresh corn, and then spice it up in all sorts of different ways. Sometimes I’ll add a pinch of sage, or maybe some smoked paprika, or maybe some curry powder.

Here’s a little video showing how to cut butternut squash (with some odd jazzy music):

And here is a recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

janbb's avatar

Well, it’s all done now but the pureeing and tasting but I did want to make sure that the hardness was what was supposed to be.

janbb's avatar

(It is delicious!)

rockfan's avatar

Absolutely love butternut squash, but yes, it’s a bit of a chore to peel.

I love to dice it in cubes, along with beets, and roast them in the oven, with shallots and garlic. And then I eat it with an arugula and an apple cider vinaigrette. Topped with roasted pumpkin seeds.

RocketGuy's avatar

Frickin’ dangerous to try to cut in half, if you ask me. There is a large risk of the knife slipping and cutting your other hand because it’s so hard when uncooked.

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