I am not much of a squash person in general, but butternut squash has always been the exception. My mom’s butternut squash soup is a Thanksgiving favorite, and I have quite a few pasta and one-pot dinner recipes that I like to add butternut squash to.
But… I have terrible knife skills, so the traditional “slice it in half, bake it in the oven” preparation method has always scared me off. Lately, I’ve been more budget concious, too, so spending extra to buy pre-sliced squash seems ridiculous.
I guess it’s no surprise that there would be a slow cooker solution. (It seems like the slow cooker comes to the rescue a lot when saving money is a priority.) While flipping through one of my favorite cookbooks, Beth Hensperger’s Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, I discovered that butternut squash can be prepared in the slow cooker. Now I can enjoy my favorite squash more affordably without worrying about my fingers. (I need those to stay healthy so I can keep crocheting and knitting!)
Here’s my technique for cooking butternut squash in the slow cooker.
Start by selecting a squash that fits in your slow cooker.
I can fit two small to medium squashes in mine, so I usually prepare two at once.
I just snap the stem off with my bare hands. Side benefit: It makes me feel super strong (unlike when I attempt to open a jar).
There is a lot of variation among slow cookers (and butternut squash), so your time may vary. When it’s fork tender, it’s ready.
Allow the squash to cool, and then peel the skin off with a paring knife.
The skin should come off very easily at this point.
If you’re not sure what you plan to make with the squash yet, I recommend dicing it into bite-sized pieces.
Remove the seeds. These can be discarded or used in recipes calling for squash seeds. Chop the rest of the bulb into pieces appropriately sized for your recipe.