The butternut squash – one of the best ingredients for autumnal dishes. Its earthy, slightly sweet flavour makes it a prime candidate for warming stews, comforting soups, and roasted butternut squash platters. You must try this recipe with roasted butternut squash and aubergine, one of our favourites. But before it graces our plates, there’s that initial hurdle: how to cut a butternut squash?
The Butternut Squash
Butternut squash, with its tan exterior and vibrant orange flesh, isn’t just a feast for the taste buds; it’s a visual delight too. Beyond its aesthetic and culinary appeal, it’s a veritable treasure trove of nutrients, boasting high levels of vitamins A and C. Yet, its tough shell and unique structure can be daunting for many. So, how do we transform this hardy veg into delicate slices ready for culinary magic? Let’s embark on this slicing journey together!
Preparing Your Workspace
Choosing the Right Tools:
- Knife: The heart of your toolkit. A well-sharpened chef’s knife not only makes the job quicker but safer too. Remember, a blunt knife is often more dangerous than a sharp one.
- Essentials: Invest in a non-slip cutting board. Not only does it keep your squash stable, but it also reduces the risk of accidents. And, of course, have a bowl nearby for the peels and seeds – less mess, less stress!
- Stability: Ever tried cutting on a wobbly surface? It’s a recipe for disaster. If your cutting board is doing the cha-cha-cha, place a damp kitchen towel underneath to secure it.
- Hand Placement: Think of your fingers as the guardians of your hands. Keep them curled inwards, using your knuckles as a guide.
Getting to Know Butternut Squash
- The butternut squash’s design is nature’s way of compartmentalising. The elongated neck, perfect for uniform slices, and the bulb, with its seeds and slightly different texture.
- It might seem like a rock initially, but with the right technique, it’ll yield to your knife.
Peeling the Squash:
- Skin on or off? For roasts or dishes where you want a caramelised exterior, keep it on. Otherwise, for smooth mashes or soups, you’ll want that skin gone.
- Hold the squash at an angle and peel downwards, following its contours. It’s like sculpting – each peel reveals more of the vibrant orange beneath.
How to Cut a Butternut Squash
- Lop off the top and bottom. This creates a stable base and makes the subsequent cuts smoother.
- Picture the squash as a ‘T’. Your next task? Separating the top from the bottom.
Slicing the Neck:
- The neck is the ideal part for those perfect Instagram-worthy slices. Once upright, slice it downwards, then decide: circles, semi-circles, or dices?
Handling the Bulbous End:
- The bulb is a different beast. Slice it in half to reveal a pocket of seeds.
- Channel your inner archaeologist and scoop out these seeds. What remains is a hollow ready for your culinary vision.
Storage and Usage
Storing Cut Butternut Squash:
- If you’re not using it immediately, store it correctly. In an airtight container in the fridge, it retains its freshness and flavour for up to a week.
Cooking with Your Sliced Squash:
- Now for the fun part! Whether you’re a fan of roasting, steaming, or pureeing, butternut squash is your canvas. For some inspiration and to kick-start your butternut journey, here are some butternut squash recipes that we absolutely adore.
From intimidating vegetable to a prepped ingredient full of potential, you’ve mastered the art of slicing butternut squash. Each slice or dice is a step closer to a heartwarming dish that not only nourishes the body but also the soul.
Got a butternut recipe or a slicing tip? Share it in the comments below! And if this guide made your kitchen adventures a tad easier, do share it with friends and family. Stay tuned for more kitchen hacks and recipes. Cheers to good food and the joy of cooking!