2 Hacks for Peeling Winter Squash or Pumpkins

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
Photo: Melinda Josie

No, we're not suggesting you cheat and buy the pre-peeled and cubed squash in the supermarket aisle. While it's tempting, it's also less fresh and more expensive.

But how to peel it yourself–in a reasonable amount of time? Recipes sometimes call for using a Y-shaped peeler. While the vertical handle certainly speeds up the process, you'll still spend at least 20 minutes trying to scrape off the squash's woody exterior. No, thank you.

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

Let 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 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.

Cut off the squash's top and bottom. (For 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.

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