Picking a Butternut
|Butternut squash |
courtesy of Philly Food Lovers.com
Prep the SquashWash your squash off thoroughly by rubbing the your hands along the surface under running water. Yes, I know you're going to cut the skin off, but cutting through the skin into the flesh can transfer germy grossness to the inside, and you don't want that. I make a vinegar-water solution that I spray on vegetables to wash them, but I'll tell you about that at a later date.
Cut the squash where it changes from neck to bulb. Take the neck and put the flat end down on the cutting board and run your knife down the sides to peel the skin off. Cut the flesh into bite-size cubes and put them into a large, flat but tall microwave safe dish (I use a Pyrex baking dish). Now you have to deal with the bulb end. Scoop out the seeds and guts with a sharp-edged spoon and put the flat side down on the cutting board and run your knife down the edges to cut off the skin. Cut it into bite-sized pieces as well and throw them into the cooking dish.
You can also cut the squash in half the long way (as shown in the picture), scoop the seeds out, and then leave the skin on. You would scoop the flesh out after cooking. I've never tried it that way because I'm afraid the skin won't come off easily and then find out it would have been better to do it the other way. Go for it!