Super easy tip here. We enjoy eating acorn, butternut, spaghetti squash, and similar gourds. Cutting through and cleaning out the seeds and strings are the hardest part of preparing these vegetables.
I was always taught to use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and strings, but I have discovered that a melon baller works better. It is made for cutting through the flesh of melons, so cutting through the seeds and stringy bits of a squash isn’t much different. The melon baller is made with a thin edge for cutting. Spoons are not.
Sadly, I don’t have many tips for cuttings through the large squash and pumpkins, other than using a large knife with a long, sharp bade. I use an 8 inch Wusthof chef’s knife, which works fine most of the time.
The other tip for cutting is to stablize the gourd by slicing a small piece off one rounded, long side. Once you have more stability, it will be safer to make your cut.
Although I personally have not tried this tip, a friend of mine recommends softening gourds in the microwave for a few minutes before attempting to cut through them.
I hope you have been enjoying these winter gourds. They are sweet and tasty and can easily work in to most meals.
Bonus Information: If you want to make this acorn squash recipe, it is simple.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Wash the acorn squash. Cut it in half from stem to point. Scoop out the seeds and strings. In a Pyrex or similar baking dish, put squash cut side down. Add a half inch to an inch of water in the dish. Bake for 1 hour or until tender.
Carefully turn the squash over. Place a half inch slice of butter (I prefer unsalted) in each cavity. Dust with ground black pepper. Add a tablespoon (or more) of chopped walnuts (or pecans). Serve while hot. This is a perfect mixture of soft and crunchy, sweet and buttery. Yum!