Winter squash is one of the best and healthiest vegetables for winter. Not only are they filling and perfect for the cold weather but they are versatile enough that they can be prepared in a range of ways including roasting, stuffing, pureeing or even incorporated and baled into muffins and pies. To cook small winter squash, you have to ensure that you prep them properly because they can be slightly stubborn and hard to slice owing to their density and thickness.
There are many different varieties of winter squash that you can choose from but some are more common and easily accessible than others. The more common ones that are easily available at the farmer’s market or grocery store include spaghetti, butternut, and delicata squash. Since winter squash is larger and denser than most other veggies, you should know that they can take a bot of time to cook.
How to cut a small winter squash
To prepare or cut a small winter squash, you will need to look for a large, sturdy and sharp knife. Because the surface can be a little thick and tough, chef’s knife that has a well-honed blade will make it easy to slice through the flesh.
1. Hold the squash firmly on a cutting board
Clean any dirt on the squash before cutting Before attempting to slice the squash, consider placing a damp cloth underneath your chopping board to prevent it from moving from place to place. Instead of attacking the squash with the full length of the blade, consider inserting the tip of the knife into the squash to create a small or shallow cut.
Hold the squash steadily on the board and trim off the ends first using your sharp chef’s knife before cutting through the middle. By getting rid of the roots and stem, you will create flat sides that can be stabilized on a cutting board without a lot of wobbling.
2. Cut it in half
Cut the winter squash in half through the core which will leave you with two separate halves that will be easier to work with. Small squashes that come with hard surfaces such as the Golden Nugget might be harder than expected to cut into half. As such, you can try tapping the knife with a rolling pin or mallet until the squash has been split through.
3. If you cannot cut it
If you find it too difficult to cut through your squash you can also cook it whole instead in the oven or a slow cooker. Once the squash is cooked through, it will then be easier to slice through the tough skin and dense flesh. It also helps to microwave the squash for about 5 minutes to make it warmer around the outside. This little bit of scoring helps to soften the flesh, therefore making it easier to cut through.
4. Scrape out the core
Using a large spoon, scrape out the seeds and remove any strings. Once this is done, choose a cooking method, whether baking or roasting to prepare.