Everyone has to start somewhere, there’s no shame to it. We were all once 12 years old in a KoRn shirt, dripping hair gel, with a home-made necklace that’s less of necklace and more of a telephone cord (enjoy that imagery your grandchildren have no clue what a phone cord is). WE ALL HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE, so while some of this might seem elementary, the skills set forward are generally meant to be the the trailhead at the beginning of your hike through squash country. A handful of the techniques used in the recipe and cultivation sections are simply not intuitive or require a slightly deeper dive and we are here for it!
How To Cut and Deseed a Squash
This may seem goofy but some squash is very large, unwieldy, and part-near rock solid, and this all-important first step can seem daunting to the uninitiated. To start pick your knife, I’ll usually reach for my large 9-inch chef’s knife, alternately I have gnarly 12-inch Butchering Cimeter for some of the bigger jobs, but really any large full-tang knife will do the trick. Now sharpen it up! It may seem counter-intuitive, but sharper equals safer, knives with a good honed edge will tend to go where you want it to with less force behind it and will ultimately make the task of cutting a squash a heck of a lot easier. Now that our knives are sharp, the first step is usually to halve the squash, if your squash is odd shaped and wont sit flat it helps to cut just enough of the bottom to get it to rest easily. Should the squash be exceptionally hard-skinned, it helps to nick a little off the top to give your knife an easier entry point. Once you’re in, keep your knife steady and centered, make sure your cutting board and squash are stable and move the blade down through the squash. If you find that you are moving in a sawing motion or applying pressure in a way that feels unsafe, STOP! RE-ADJUST! RE-EVALUATE! Here’s my secret on some of these tough guys that seem impossible, I keep a stubby 8oz claw hammer in the kitchen I call “The Convincer”. I wont use it on my nice chef’s knife, but that gnar-gnar-cimeter, now we are in business! TAP the top of the knife moving from the base and the tip until you are through the hard part, and the job becomes manageable. Okay, we are through the hard part, once split all that’s left is scooping out the remaining seeds with a spoon and call it a day!