Every time I go to cut a winter squash, I find myself holding my breath. Because no matter how sharp my knife is, cutting through its thick skin and dense flesh is never an easy task.
So if there's a way to not risk slicing my fingers off every time I want to cook up a winter squash, be it butternut, acorn, spaghetti, or kabocha, then sign me up. That's why I immediately had to try this tip for making cutting easier.
The Original Tip
Emma brought up this tip when she wrote about cooking spaghetti squash in the microwave. But I love roasting my squash, so I wanted to see if instead I could simply use the microwave to help cut that thing in two and then proceed to roast it.
Spaghetti squash is known to have a particularly tough, hard skin, so I knew if this trick worked on this type of squash, it would work on any variety.
Read the Original Tip: How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave
The Testing Method
I followed exactly what Emma recommend. First, I scored the squash vertically around the middle with a paring knife, cutting into it about 1/4-inch deep, which she said would help guide the knife later when I sliced it. I then used a fork to poke multiple spots around the squash to help steam escape — I didn't want the squash exploding on me because of a buildup of steam inside!
The squash went into a baking dish and was heated on high for five minutes. I used oven mitts to remove the dish from the microwave and transferred the squash to a cutting board. I then used a chef's knife to slice through the middle of the squash, using my hands to help break it apart at the stem.
While it still definitely involved a bit of arm strength to cut the squash in half, I did find that the knife worked its way through easier than if the squash had not been microwaved. I still had to be mindful of my fingers, but I didn't feel like I was putting my entire weight into the process.
With the successful cutting of my spaghetti squash, I proceeded to try the method with butternut squash as well and had equal success. This is definitely a trick to try on any winter squash with a thick skin.
(Image credits: Emma Christensen)