Steamed Butternut Squash ♥

A lesson: how to cut and steam a butternut squashSo what self-respecting vegetable-recipe website takes 2-1/2 years to figure out how to steam winter squash? Oooops.

No question what held me back: I like ten fingers and was unwilling to sacrifice a single one to a squash, no-siree.

Here's the trick - and it took all of six minutes, definitely a good investment of time for how gorgeous steamed winter squash turns out. Better yet? I checked: yep, all fingers present and accounted for.

IN WORDS Slice off the 'neck', first, of a butternut squash (those are the pale brown ones with a round bulb on one end and a long neck) -- not hard with a sharp knife. Then use a vegetable peeler to take off the skin -- or in my case, a knife since the vegetable peeler wasn't up to the job, taking care to keep the neck's flat end of the neck steady on a cutting board, slicing top to bottom. Then cut the neck into rounds about an inch thick, then stack a couple at a time to cut into cubes.

IN PICTURES See how to cut, peel & cube a butternut squash and keep all ten fingers for step-by-step photo illustrations of this technique.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 4

About 4-pound butternut squash, washed well, neck sliced from main portion (this yields about a pound of squash, you could also cube/cook the rest for later but the cooking time will be longer)

1 tablespoon butter
Salt & pepper

Set water to boil in a steamer. After slicing off the neck, remove the skin of the neck, either by slicing off with a vegetable peeler or a knife. Cut cross-wise into one-inch thick rounds, then two rounds at a time, cut into cubes.

Place in the steamer (if doing more than a pound, may need to do several batches). Cover and let steam until done, about 30 minutes. Drain water, return squash to steamer and toss with butter and seasonings.

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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2007


Thank you for featuring winter squash prep methods! I am terrified of these veggies :) The only thing I ever end up doing with winter squash is roasting it. This is a great alternative.

I'm sure it's my imagination, but I always think the flesh from the neck of the butternut tastes better than the part surrounding the seeds. Is it because the neck is easier to cut?? I often make butternut squash soup using just the neck, and the remaining part, after I remove the seeds, gets roasted for another use. Weird, eh?

This year I planted a new variety of butternut called "Very Big Squash." What a catchy name, huh. But this squash has a VERY long neck and therefore a lot more squash meat than regular butternut. And they really are very big, some close to two feet long. I recommend it very highly. The plant has been very prolific too.

Now I'll have to try steaming since I've never cooked butternut that way.

Girl Alanna, you know how many of us can relate to that preface of: what self-respecting... (lol) Each day, I discover something new and different about the food I've been eating and all my life :)

My method - take squash, put it in oven for an hour (or more when I forget about it). Don't cut it open or anything and it steams in its own skin. Take it out of the oven and the skin virtually falls off. This is roasting, but the end result is exactly the same as steamed - and no struggling at all with the raw vegetable.

Guess what I got at the farmers' market yesterday? Yup, butternut squash (got delicata too), and it's cubed up and cooking in my Dutch oven (do they still call soup pots Dutch ovens?) I don't peel it though, just wash, cube and steam...try it. You also get fiber and vitamins & minerals from the skin, and it isn't at all hard. If you are making soup the skin is orange anyway so doesn't turn the soup green. Thanks for blogging on this great sweet vegetable. A sure sign of fall!

I didn't think about the seeds Lydia...thanks for the idea...always used to do that with pumpkins. And eating the seeds is eating the "whole food."

I'm glad you walked away from this with all your fingers, Alanna! Looks great, too.

Hi Alanna...
I have a love-hate relationship with winter squash, since it was a butternut I was prepping on the night I ended up in the emergency room as a result of an errant knife...(details too painful to recount, but in the end no permanent damage was done...) Kelly's comment took me back, and reminded me why I usually use Anonymous's roasting method these days.

BTW, the link to Tomato Bread Pudding IV took me back! We were sort of nuts in those carefree bygone days...

best, S

Hi Alanna, I find a serrated peeler does the job quickly--and safely. Since I got one, it's become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.

Get an OXO Good Grips Y-peeler. It makes peeling a whole butternut squash a snap. It's the only peeler that's up to the job. I don't even cut the neck off until the whole squash is peeled. I slice it and cut it into chunks using a Chinese vegetable cleaver like this one.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna