How to Prepare Butternut Squash
Cut through the squash to separate the neck from the bulb. The bulb end has the seeds while the neck end has the stem.
The smooth skin makes peeling a butternut squash much simpler than squashes with an uneven surface. Rest each half of the butternut squash on its flat, cut surface and using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife peel the squash in a downward motion. The squash does not need to be peeled before roasting, but it is simpler to peel if boiling for a purée.
The bulb end should be cut in half to scoop out the seeds with a spoon. The seeds are usually discarded but are also edible. If desired, rinse and dry the seeds then toast on low heat in the oven like pumpkin seeds to be used in muffins, granolas or as soup garnishes.
To steam: Peel the squash and remove the seeds. Slice the squash or chop into bite-size chunks. Place in a steamer basket over boiling water for 20 to 30 minutes until fork tender.
To boil: Peel the squash and remove the seeds. Slice or chop into bite-size chunks. Fully submerse in water, then boil for 20 to 30 minutes until fork tender (the smaller the pieces, the faster they will cook). Drain using a colander.
To bake: Peel the squash or leave unpeeled. Remove the seeds. Slice or chop into bite-size chunks and spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If desired, brush with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 30-45 minutes until fork tender (again, the smaller the pieces the quicker they will cook).
To microwave: Peel the squash or leave unpeeled. Remove the seeds. Slice or chop into bite-size chunks. Spread the squash pieces out on a microwavable plate. Cook on high in 5 minute intervals for about 7-10 minutes until fork tender. Cooking times will vary depending on the power of your microwave and the size of the pieces.