Cutting ~ Chopping ~ Peeling

How to Peel and Cut a Butternut Squash

Keep squash pieces as stable as possible while cutting. A rubber mallet can help, if you have one, to gently push the knife through difficult thick spots. Using a very sharp vegetable peeler, one with a carbon steel blade, will help with the peeling.

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1 Using a heavy, sharpened chef’s knife, cut off about 1/4-inch from the bottom of the squash in an even slice. Then cut off 1/4-inch from the stem end.

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2 Holding the squash in one hand, use a sharp vegetable peeler in the other hand to peel off the outer layer of the squash. You can also secure the squash standing upright and peel it in downward strokes with the peeler. Stand the peeled squash upright on a cutting board. It shouldn’t wobble, you want the squash to be stable. (If it is wobbly, make another cut at the bottom to even it out.) Make one long cut, down the middle from the top to bottom, with a heavy chef’s knife. Some squashes can be pretty hard; to help with the cutting you can use a rubber mallet to gently tap on the ends of the knife to help push the knife down through the squash.

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3 Use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and the stringy pulp from the squash cavity. (If you want, you can prepare the seeds like toasted pumpkin seeds.)

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4 Lay the squash halves, cut side down on the cutting board for stability. Working section at a time, cut the squash into slices, lengthwise, the desired width of your squash pieces. Some recipes call for 1/2-inch slices or cubes, some for 1-inch or greater.

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5 If you are cubing the squash, lay the slices down (you can stack a few at a time) and make another set of lengthwise cuts. Then make crosswise cuts to make cubes.

One 1 1/2 pound butternut squash will yield approximately 4 cups of 1/2-inch cubed squash.

Not all vegetable peelers are alike. Most have pretty dull edges. The sharpest peelers out there are made with carbon steel blades. Here’s a Swiss model which you can pick up inexpensively at

How to Buy
Butternut squash is available year-round, but it’s best from early fall through winter. Look for a squash that feels heavy for its size; one with a fat neck and small bulb will have the smallest seed cavity, yielding the most meat. Butternut squash should have a hard skin without bruises or mold. (A darker-colored spot indicating where the squash has been resting is fine).

How to Store
Do not refrigerate whole butternut squash; it will keep for a month or more in a cool, dark place. Peeled butternut squash should be stored tightly covered and refrigerated for up to five days. Do you hate how your hands feel after cutting squash? You’re not alone. We made a video to teach you how to cut it.


Beet Greens 0 The Gateway Green

Beet Greens on Shockingly DeliciousAttention all you juice lovers out there, when you buy beets for your red juice, what do you do with the green tops you cut off?

I hope you save them for a sauté, because beet greens are one of the most nutritious parts of the vegetable!

They’re also delicious, and I call beet tops the “gateway green” because people (even kids!) who think they don’t like greens are likely to adore them. Beet greens are often the best greens to introduce to children or others who might be wary of the flavor of more assertive or bitter cooking greens. Start with beet greens, and when they are accepted, work your way to spinach, and then kapow, move on to kale, mustard, turnip and collards.

Beet Greens on Shockingly Delicious


  • They’re naturally delicate, surprisingly sweet and mild, and will appeal to people who love spinach or chard.
  • High in vitamins and minerals: A, C, K and fiber, iron and potassium.
  • Easy to clean (a quick wash and a spin dry), and cook.

Beet leaf on Shockingly DeliciousCooking

  •  Beet greens wilt quickly (they cook as fast as spinach), so take care not to overcook them. We like to sauté them for a mere 2-3 minutes, and stop cooking while they are still bright green.
  • The natural sugars in the plant slightly sweeten up the finished dish.
  • You can sauté beet greens in a tiny splash of olive oil and sliced garlic (they may not need salt), or add a pinch of crushed red pepper for some heat.
  • Green up any soup you are making by tossing in beet greens during the last 3-5 minutes of simmering.
  • Taste the beet greens before adding salt. They naturally contain a bit more sodium than other greens.

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