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Easiest Way to Peel Butternut Squash: Microwave Method
Peeling Butternut Squash is a Pain
I love butternut squash, don't you? While I enjoy eating it, I hate cooking it. It's tedious work removing the skin. Plus, because of the size, it can be difficult to hold on to. Just thinking about it makes me want to cross it off my grocery list.
I've learned an easy way to prepare this delicious side dish. All you need is a microwave safe container, a microwave (of course!), and a fork. Well, having a Butternut Squash would be good, too. This method cuts your preparation time to just minutes. Isn't that worth giving it a try?
First, Prepare Your Squash
Select a microwave safe container with a lid. I used a container that had a steam vent on top. This makes for more thorough cooking and easier removal from the microwave.
Wash the squash to remove any grit and dirt from the skin. If you are using a whole squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds.
Next, cut it into pieces to fit your container. If your container is large enough, you can halve the squash and cook each piece side by side. My container was a little small, so I cut my squash into chunks.
Place the pieces in the container. Put a little bit of water in the bottom to prevent sticking. Place the lid on top with a little space to let the air escape or open the air vent if the lid has one.
Warning! Do not cook a whole squash in the microwave. I've heard horror stories. Even with air holes poked in the skin, the pressure can build up too much and it explodes. Don't take the easy way out. Cut it or chunk it before cooking.
You do not have to peel the squash! The skin comes off much easier after cooking.
Around the Kitchen
Do you cook butternut squash?
Next, Cook It
Squash can take forever to cook in the oven especially if it’s a large squash. I've found it’s much quicker in the microwave. I'm impatient. I'm always looking for the easy way out in the kitchen.
Place your container in the microwave. Put the lid on. Leave a little space for steam to escape or open the vent. Heat on full power for 10 minutes. Test it with a fork. It should be soft. Let it cool for about 10-15 minutes.
On my first attempt, I was a little leery. I've had too many incidences of water evaporating and foods burning on the bottom. I checked mine at the 5 minute mark. Trust me, it wasn't anywhere near done. It was barely cooked. Another 5 minutes did the trick. It definitely needed 10 minutes to cook thoroughly.
Cooking Time Comparison
Baked in the oven
Cut in half
Cut into chunks
Cut into chunks
Microwave Safe Cookware
Glass bowls tend to cook more evenly in the microwave. This set includes different sizes so you can cook a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Finally, Peel It
Once your squash is cooled, you can peel it. Take a fork and gently slice away the skin. This was really easy with my chunks. If you’ve cooked a half squash, you might want to cut it into pieces that are easier to work with.
While I only used a fork, this might go easier with a butter knife. Hold the piece with the fork, then slice off the skin with the knife.
Compared to peeling an uncooked squash, this was a breeze. Half the time I'd end up peeling a finger along with the way. This whole process took me less than 3 minutes.
How’s that for easy?
But, I Want to Cook It Later!
On occasion you might want to prepare and peel, but cook your squash by a different method. You may be creating a stew or some other dish where you need to have uncooked ingredients. No problem! Simply follow the steps above, but instead of cooking it fully for 10 minutes, microwave for 2-3 minutes. This will soften the skin and make it easier to peel.
It will still be somewhat difficult. However, if you've ever taken a peeler to an raw, uncooked squash, you will appreciate how much softer the skin is after microwaving.
Easiest way to peel for use later
A Good Source of Potassium
Why bother if it takes so much work to prepare? Aren't their other produce that are easier to prepare? First, it tastes so good. Unlike some winter squash which can be bitter, it has a pleasant, sweet flavor. It is versatile and can be added to salads, stews, side dishes--you name it!
It's also a great source of potassium. Potassium is important because it aids in brain function and blood pressure management. Many people suffer from potassium deficiency which leaves them with symptoms like drowsiness, anxiety, nausea, and irregular heartbeat.
If you suffer from low potassium, can't or don't want to take supplements, add butternut squash to your diet. One cup cooked squash contains 696 mg. of potassium. For some people it is easiest to get nutrients from food than supplements for a variety of reasons. If you're bored with potatoes and bananas, you've got another option to choose from.
Mashed Cooked Butternut Squash
|Serving size: 1 cup|
|Calories from Fat||0|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 0 g|
|Saturated fat 0 g|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 26 g||9%|
|Fiber 7 g||28%|
|Protein 2 g||4%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 10 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
An easy way to prepare Butternut Squash
© 2014 Melody Lassalle