How to Cut Winter Squash (without losing a finger!)

How to Cut Winter Squash (without losing a finger!)
Posted August 26, 2013

Butternut, acorn, kabocha, and other hard skinned winter squash are coming into season. They can be tricky to cut without causing bodily injury! So here are some tips to keep all your digits intact and fantastic winter squash on the table.

  • Make sure the skin of the squash is not sticky or slick. Place on a stable surface. Accidents happen when you start a cut and the squash slides away from you.
  • Score the squash deeply with a knife to form a “track” for the knife to follow.
  • You can microwave the squash for a few minutes to soften the skin and make it easier to cut, if you wish. About 2 minutes should be enough.
  • Use a knife with a thick spine, or back, or a cleaver to cut the squash. If you need to use a mallet, use a rubber one or pad the blade. Tap the mallet at the point where the blade and handle meet. If you do not have a mallet, lift the squash a little and thump it on the cutting surface to try to drive the knife through.
  • If you need to pull the knife from the squash because it seems stuck, be REALLY careful! This is where accidents frequently happen.
  • Cut in half first, scoop out seeds and then cut into IMG_3733chunks, wedges, or leave in half for roasting.
  • For peeling, use a sturdy swivel peeler for real hard skinned chunks. For butternut, cut off the ends, then the bulbous part, and then stand it on end. Use a thin bladed, very sharp, paring knife to slice away the skin from top to bottom. You can also do this with round squash you have halved. You are frequently better off just roasting the squash skin on, then peeling or scooping out the flesh when it's done.

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