How to Cut Butternut Pumpkin for Cooking

Cutting a butternut pumpkin (so-called butternut squash) used to be a challenge to me. Thick skin and dense flesh make pumpkin so hard to cut. Let’s learn how to cut a butternut pumpkin easily and safely with a right method.

What is Butternut Pumpkin?

Butternut pumpkin, or butternut squash, is a type of winter squash known for its sweet, nutty flavor and vibrant orange flesh. We can use it various ways in cooking, from roasting, mashing, making puree, soups and stews or even pumpkin rice. There are several desserts made from it, for example pumpkin flan, pumpkin cake, pumpkin milk, and cookies. It is also a nutritious vegetable commonly enjoyed during the fall and winter months.

To make delicious dishes from butternut pumpkin, sometimes we should cut it into pieces or cubes instead of using the whole pumpkin. When I made pumpkin soup, small cubes of butternut pumpkin saved time and energy a lot because they were cooked way more quickly and comfortable for blending.

How To Choose Good Pumpkin

Selecting a good butternut pumpkin is crucial to ensure that it’s flavorful and suitable for your cooking purpose. When choosing a butternut pumpkin, start by examining its exterior. Look for one that is firm and free from any visible blemishes, cuts, or soft spots. A healthy stem is also a positive indicator of freshness. The pumpkin’s skin should have a uniform, creamy beige color, and it should be free from mold.

a butternut pumpkin or butternut squash

Next, consider the weight of the butternut pumpkin. A ripe butternut pumpkin should feel heavy for its size, indicating that it contains ample flesh. Avoid pumpkins that feel lightweight, as they may be dry and less flavorful. When you gently tap on the pumpkin with your knuckles, it should produce a hollow sound, suggesting that it has a good flesh-to-seed ratio. Lastly, give the pumpkin a gentle sniff; it should have a mildly sweet and earthy aroma, signifying its freshness.

By following these guidelines, you can confidently choose a good butternut pumpkin to roast, puree, or use it in soups and dishes.

Tools For Cutting Pumpkin

First, of course we need a large, heavy sharp knife to cut these dense and hard pumpkin. Besides, I highly recommend using a flat, heavy cutting board for creating a stable surface for you while cutting. Safety first, as cutting a heavy pumpkin might hurt you.

Also, prepare some air-tight container to store your cut pieces in fridge. Depending on your use purpose, you can cut a butternut pumpkin into different sides such as pieces, slices, and cubes. I usually cut it in to cubes for making pumpkin soups or pumpkin milk and slices/pieces for baking in oven.

How to Cut a Butternut Pumpkin

Step 1. Peel the outer layer

Lay the pumpkin down on the cutting board. Make a cut horizontally, divide it into 2 halves. A smaller half will help you hold and peel the outer layer more easily. You now have 3 methods to peel the outer layer of a butternut pumpkin.

cut butternut squash in half
cut the pumpkin horizontally
  1. If you have a sharp and relatively big vegetable peeler, use it to peel the thick outer layer of your pumpkin halves. It can save your time much but remember to use a big and sharp one as the peel is tough to cut.
  2. If you don’t have a peeler, place the halves on the cutting board, cut side down. Use your knife to peel. It’s simple, however you will need to use your force and cut it firmly.
  3. In case you still feel the pumpkin to hard to cut, try this: microwave your halves of butternut squash in 30 seconds. The heat got helps to soften the pumpkin so that you can peel it more comfortably.

Keep up until you’ll get 2 peeled halves.

Step 2. Cut into quarters and remove the seeds

In your two halves of a butternut pumpkin above, there is a half with seeds inside, or maybe both. It depends on the number of seeds in your pumpkin. We must scrape them out before cutting into smaller pieces.

Cut each half into 2 smaller pieces. With a firm metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp surround the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are edible and healthy, so you can save them for roasting and enjoy as a snack. For me, I usually wash and roast them to add to the filling of mixed nuts mooncake.

cut butternut pumpkin, remove skin and seeds
Step 1 & 2: cut, peel the skin, then continue to cut and remove seeds

Step 3. Cut the butternut pumpkin into pieces, slices, or cubes

It’s time to cut them into smaller pieces. Lay the cut side down to set the pieces stably on cutting board.

  • To cut a quarter into smaller pieces, cut into slices lengthwise. Then, cut it crosswise with the width depending on how thick you want for a piece.
cut butternut pumpkin into slices
Cut butternut pumpkin into slices
  • If you desire to cut them into slices, just cut it crosswise into slices. Each slice should be ½ inch thick or more, it’s up to you.
  • To cut it into cubes, from the slices above, make a same size crosswise cut, so you will get pumpkins sticks. Finally, cut those sticks into cubes.
cut butternut pumpkin into cubes
Cut butternut pumpkin into cubes

Continue until you finish the whole pumpkin.

Storing Cut Pumpkin Pieces In Fridge

To maximize freshness, you can store it in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. Cut butternut pumpkin should be stored in the refrigerator and can typically be kept for about 5 to 7 days. Additionally, you can sprinkle a little lemon juice over the cut surface to help prevent browning. Always check for any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell or mold, before using it if it has been stored for an extended period.

You can also freeze the pumpkin pieces. Properly frozen pumpkin can last in the freezer for 10-12 months. When you use it, thaw the frozen pumpkin in the refrigerator before incorporating it into your recipes. It’s worth noting that the texture may change slightly after freezing, so you should use frozen pumpkin in soups, stew or making puree rather than roasting.

How to cut butternut pumpkin

How to Cut Butternut Pumpkin Easily

Yield: 2kg of butternut pumpkin pieces
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Medium

Thick skin and dense flesh make pumpkin so hard to cut. Let's learn how to cut a butternut pumpkin easily and safely with a right method.

Materials

  • 1 butternut pumpkin of 2-3 kg

Tools

  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 large, sharp knife
  • 2-3 air-tight containers

Instructions

Step 1. Peel the outer layer

  • Lay the pumpkin down on the cutting board. Make a cut horizontally, divide it into 2 halves. A smaller half will help you hold and peel the outer layer more easily. how to cut a butternut pumpkin

You now have 3 methods to peel the outer layer of a butternut pumpkin.

  • If you have a sharp and relatively big vegetable peeler, use it to peel the thick outer layer of your pumpkin halves. It can save your time much but remember to use a big and sharp one as the peel is tough to cut.
  • If you don’t have a peeler, place the halves on the cutting board, cut side down. Use your knife to peel. It’s simple, however you will need to use your force and cut it firmly.
  • In case you still feel the pumpkin to hard to cut, try this: microwave your halves of butternut squash in 30 seconds. The heat got helps to soften the pumpkin so that you can peel it more comfortably. how to cut a butternut pumpkin
  • Continue until you’ll get 2 peeled halves.

Step 2. Cut into quarters and remove the seeds

  • In your two halves of a butternut pumpkin above, there is a half with seeds inside, or maybe both. It depends on the number of seeds in your pumpkin. We must scrape them out before cutting into smaller pieces.
  • Cut each half into 2 smaller pieces. With a firm metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp surround the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are edible and healthy, so you can save them for roasting and enjoy as a snack.

Step 3. Cut the butternut pumpkin into pieces, slices, or cubes

It’s time to cut them into smaller pieces. Lay the cut side down to set the pieces stably on cutting board.

  • To cut a quarter into smaller pieces, cut into slices lengthwise. Then, cut it crosswise with the width depending on how thick you want for a piece. how to cut a butternut pumpkin
  • If you desire to cut them into slices, just cut it crosswise into slices. Each slice should be ½ inch thick or more, it’s up to you.
  • To cut it into cubes, from the slices above, make a same size crosswise cut, so you will get pumpkins sticks. Finally, cut those sticks into cubes. how to cut a butternut pumpkin

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