Removing the tough skin from a roly-poly squash can be a time commitment. But it doesn't have to be.
Illustration: pumpkin cut in half
Credit: Melinda Josie

No, we’re not talking about the pre-peeled and cubed squash in the supermarket aisle. While it’s tempting, it’s also less fresh and more expensive.

Recipes sometimes call for using a Y-shaped peeler. While the vertical handle certainly speeds up the process, at the end of the day, you’ll still spend at least 20 minutes trying to peel off the squash’s woody exterior.

These two brilliant tricks will help whittle the task down to less than five minutes.

Make the microwave do the work.

Poke the squash or pumpkin all over with the tines of a fork. Place it in a microwave-safe dish, and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Use a paring knife or Y-shaped peeler to remove the skin. It will practically fall off in large strips.

Use a chef’s knife.

Cut off the squash’s top and bottom. (For a butternut squash, cut the base and neck apart and tackle each separately.) Stand upright and, working from top to bottom, cut off the skin in strips with the knife, following the shape of the squash. You may take off a bit more flesh than with a peeler, but the knife is much faster.

Now, it’s time to get peeling, chopping, and cooking. Use a long serrated knife or an extra-sharp chef’s knife to chop the squash. Then try our Roasted Pumpkin Soup With Harissa and Chickpeas, our Curried Squash Soup, or our Squash, Mushroom, and Kale Soup with Dill.