3 simple ways that will take the hard work out of peeling butternut

Affordable, versatile and delicious, it's easy to understand why South Africans are mad about butternut.
Affordable, versatile and delicious, it's easy to understand why South Africans are mad about butternut.
Image: 123RF/Svitlana Tereshchenko

Whether it's roasted, in a soup or on a sosatie stick, butternut is always a treat - but cutting and peeling certainly isn't. 

SA's beloved squash has a leathery skin tougher than those wristbands they give you at festivals. This, coupled with its strange shape, makes it tricky to peel - even with a Samurai-sword-sharp potato peeler.

Here are three hacks that will take the hard work out of preparing butternut:

1. NUKE IT

Weight Watchers Reimagined suggests you poke holes in the butternut with a fork, top and tail it and stick it into the microwave for three to four minutes. This won't cook the squash but will soften the skin to make it easier to peel, seed and cut up.

WATCH | How to easily peel a butternut

2. USE THE RIGHT TOOLS

Put down the knife; a potato peeler should be your weapon of choice. This gourd's awkward shape makes using a knife dangerous for even the most practised chef - plus the peeler removes the skin in smooth, clean strokes, leading to better-looking butternut.

While you're at it, put a damp tea towel underneath your cutting board to stop it from sliding around. It'll also be easier to handle if you cut the veg in half and put the flat surface down on the board before peeling.

3. COOK IT WHOLE

If all of this sounds like too much work, or you'll be turning the butternut into soup or a puree, why bother grabbing the peeler at all? Slice it in half, scoop out the seeds and slather it in oil before roasting it in a hot oven until soft. The skin will come right off.

Additional reporting by staff reporters.


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