Taste

7 Butternut Squash Hacks To Conquer This Tricky Gourd

Pull out the slow cooker.

It's butternut squash season, and we all know what that means: time for a showdown with that tough-skinned gourd. Despite how much we like butternut squash soup, or how tasty we know it would be in pasta, it's hard to work up the courage to face its resistant exterior.

If you feel the same way we feel, we have a gift: hacks. Seven of them. We'll help you get through this season without losing an arm. Use them now and thank us later.

1. Nuke that sucker. A couple of minutes in the microwave won't cook the squash, but it will soften the skin, making the chore of peeling it a whole lot easier.

2. Peel it with a super sharp potato peeler. Please, just put the knife down. This is not so much a hack as it is really good advice. Heed it and all will be well.

3. Or, if you're feeling brave, use a power drill. There's more setup involved, but it'll impress all your friends.

4. Seed it with an ice cream scoop. A spoon works fine, too. But an ice cream scoop is not only the perfect size of the squash's interior, its sharply curved edges also mean you don't have to use as much elbow grease.

5. For super flavorful butternut squash, simmer it in a butternut squash broth. The stringy, fleshy stuff you scoop out of the middle might not be good enough to eat, but it's good enough to add some flavor to stock. Cook it down in a pot of water, and then use it as stock for your soup. (Or just simmer your squash in the flavored water to cook it through.)

6. When all else fails, just whole-roast it in the oven. Slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, oil it and roast until soft. No dicing necessary. The skin will slide right off. This obviously doesn't work if you need diced squash, but it's perfect for pureed soups and it's mighty delicious. If you want to get fancy, put some garlic and onions in the seed cavity to give it a little more flavor as it roasts.

7. Slow cook it. In the slow cooker. The whole thing. No need to slice it, seed it or ever pierce the skin.

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