The Store-Bought Shortcut For More Satisfying Butternut Squash

Since butternut squash is available year-round, you can enjoy it in vegetable coconut curry or sausage and butternut squash pasta whenever you'd like. However, the first step in tackling this vegetable is to cut it up, which is notoriously difficult. Not only does this squash have a firm texture that requires some serious muscle to pierce through, but if done incorrectly, you could end up injuring yourself while attempting to dice it up. According to HuffPost, 39% of kitchen injuries come from cutting vegetables — and butternut squash is one of the most dangerous ones.

Luckily, you can skip all that pain and agony by purchasing pre-cut cubes from the grocery store. Not only will you remain injury-free (at least where cutting squash is concerned), but the pre-cut stuff is easier to handle, which leads to a more satisfying cooking experience. Also, most recipes will ask you to peel and dice your squash so you can eat it in bite-size pieces, or so it can blend in dishes like fall vegetable soup.

Prepared cubes are much easier to make into a puree, whether you're eating it alone or in a soup — all you have to do is cook your squash until soft and blend.

Pre-cut butternut squash saves time and effort

By buying your butternut squash pre-cut, you'll save time prepping and cutting your veggies. Although some prefer not to buy prepared produce because it spends more time oxidizing in the package, which can lead to your veggies losing their color and texture faster, you shouldn't notice much of a difference if you cook your cubes. To stay on the safe side, make sure the expiration date on the container hasn't passed. And if you're hesitant to buy pre-cut produce because you're trying to save money, consider that cubed butternut squash may not be too much more expensive than a whole one. At Vons, for example, one of the veggies sells for about $4.97, while 20 oz of cut squash goes for $4.99.  

Before you buy, check that the cubes don't have a tinge of white on the outer layer, which could mean they're losing liquid and nutritional value. And per U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendations, only choose packages that are in a refrigerator or surrounded by ice. As soon as you get home, make sure to throw your cubes in the fridge. You may be able to skip the washing step too, since some brands will pre-wash their squash, but always check that the package indicates this before doing so. 

By taking these minor accommodations into account, you can save time and slicing stress by buying your squash pre-cut.