This Is The Safest Way To Cut Squash

Winter squashes like butternut and acorn are the perfect cozy, comforting dish to make on chilly nights in the fall and winter. While they taste delicious, they can be a little unwieldy to prep and tricky to slice through. Since the squash's flesh is hard, you might've had to saw through it before just to cut it in half or trim off the ends. Obviously, this isn't the safest way to work, so if you've ever worried about nicking your finger with the knife while cutting up winter squash, one simple trick makes the process a lot easier and safer.

According to Chowhound, you can make your squash a lot easier to cut just by popping it in the microwave for a few minutes. Pierce the squash all over with the tip of your knife, then microwave it for one to four minutes. You can also put it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees F. Both methods will soften the squash enough to make it a lot simpler to cut. Instead of hacking at it, your knife should slide through the tough skin and flesh much easier. The skin should also come off easily once the squash has been cooked a little bit.

Other tips for safely cutting up squash

If you don't want to heat up the squash in your microwave or oven, you can also make cutting one up safer with a few strategic cuts. According to Food Network, a good start is slicing the top and bottom off the squash — this creates a flat base so the veggie doesn't wobble or slide around as you try to cut through it. Then, you can slice down through the squash lengthwise to cut it in half, and scoop out the pulp and seeds from the middle. From there, you can place each squash half with the cut side down, and cube or slice each half.

Another crucial tip is to make sure you're working with the right knife for the job. Chowhound recommends using a knife that's been recently sharpened because dull knives won't slice through the squash as easily. According to The Kitchn, the best knife for the job is a chef's knife with a blade that's at least 8 inches long. If you use a knife that's too small, you'll probably have to pull it out of the squash a few times before you can cut all the way through, or you'll end up sawing back and forth, neither of which are very safe. A sharp chef's knife, on the other hand, should be able to cut through the veggie in one smooth slice. But if you're still having a little trouble, just heat the squash up in the microwave or oven to make slicing a cinch.