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MelissaH

Peeling butternut squash

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Some of you may recall that exactly one year ago, in the thread on multi-tasking equipment, I posted about one of my desires for my new kitchen:

I want a lathe for my kitchen, to quickly and easily remove the skin from butternut squashes. My husband hasn't gone for it yet.

MelissaH

I'm a lucky woman. My :wub: husband did go for it over the summer, and I'm here to show you the results. Behold, the lathe, with its fodder in place:

gallery_23869_3399_934.jpg

It's a Delta LA200 Midi Lathe, which I run on the slowest speed of 500 rpm. When I choose my squashes, I look for relatively straight ones, with thicker necks. To prep the squash, I wipe it with a damp paper towel to remove any surface dirt, and then cut off the top and bottom with a sharp knife, just enough to expose a flat surface. My :wub: husband built me the piece on the right side of the photo, which I use to hold the squash in place. It's basically a flat circular piece of wood with three screws. The lathe grabs the wood, and the screws grab the squash. To install the squash into the lathe, I simply jam it into the screws, trying my best to center it. Then I slide the live-center on the other end into place, crank it up a bit more, and secure it. (That's my hand securing it in the photo above.)

Once it's secured in place, I let 'er rip! I've made a movie of the process and you can watch it here. (Moderators: can I embed the video directly?)

I use an ordinary gouge, although I'd like to find one with a plastic handle so it's less likely to be adversely affected by squashy goop. I thought about using a parting tool to mark grooves for easy even slicing, but decided I'd lose too much of the good stuff to make it worth bothering.

Those of you with sharp eyes will note that the lathe is technically not in the kitchen. It's in the garage, and it's easy to move outside. There would have been room in the kitchen, but I would have spent far too much time cleaning squashy goop off my kitchen walls.

When I'm done, here's what I look like after shaking off some of the turnings:

gallery_23869_3399_40699.jpg

The full face shield is essential. I usually change into ready-to-wash clothes before starting, and I always wear a hat because my curly hair is tremendously good at holding on to squash turnings.

The cleanup's actually not too bad, just requiring a little time with a broom and a handful of paper towels. The towel draped over the lathe keeps any sticky juice from contacting the bare metal, which helps immensely. I remove the turnings, wipe down with a damp paper towel, and then dry with another paper towel. I've learned that it's easiest to clean the live center if you remove it from the lathe. I do make a point of peeling multiple squashes in a session, since it takes as much time to clean up after one squash as it does after half a dozen squashes. And the payoff's tremendous! All those recipes that start with peeled butternut squash are now remarkably easy. A peeled squash is no problem to cube into perfect half-inch dice, or reasonably thin slices, or any other shape. (And who knows, the lathe might just turn out to have other uses as well!)

Got any favorite squash recipes? :biggrin:

MelissaH

  • Like 3

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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That is really something!

Personally, I use a knife.


-drew

www.drewvogel.com

"Now I'll tell you what, there's never been a baby born, at least never one come into the Firehouse, who won't stop fussing if you stick a cherry in its face." -- Jack McDavid, Jack's Firehouse restaurant

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I would SO love that set-up! We have about 30 ambercup squashes that need "doing with". They were a donation from the neighborhood Sharing Farm to the Community Meal that I cook weekly.

Personally, I use a knife.

Some of our volunteers have knife skills which I can only describe as "scary" in a group kitchen context. The skins of the ambercups are really tough, I've watched a couple of knives slide off :shock:


Karen Dar Woon

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Uh...Wow?!

:unsure:

I just use a traditional potato or vegetable peeler.


Whoever said that man cannot live by bread alone...simply did not know me.

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That's awesome!

I have to sometimes peel AND dice a case or two of butternut at my job, maybe a jigsaw could be brought into play here as well (I can't feel my knife hand after finishing that case).

Keep up the good work!

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That's awesome!

I have to sometimes peel AND dice a case or two of butternut at my job, maybe a jigsaw could be brought into play here as well (I can't feel my knife hand after finishing that case).

Keep up the good work!

For two cases, I would suggest a table saw setup. :raz: Some days... power tools RULE!


Karen Dar Woon

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I just scoop 'em after steaming...never tried peeling one

I do like power tools though

:cool:

T


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

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I looked at this post, chuckled, then moved on to others. Something was bothering me, though, so I came back and saw what my instincts noticed the first time: ditch that floppy towel because it is an accident waiting to happen. As a 50-year machines-of-various-kinds-operator I see danger there.

Just a friendly warning to hopefully prevent a bad thing happening to nice people.

Ray

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I use an ezi grip potato peeler, one with the blade at right angles to he handle. Not as spectacular though

Recipes? I guess the obvious ones

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin soup ( with stuff like wild mushroom, chestnuts etc)

Roast

Cheesy

Pumpkin bread

Pureed and dried for a crisp


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Ray,

As a long-time woodworker I agree that any loose clothing or fabric around moving parts can be a danger. The face-shield was my demand.

This video was from the first run and the towel was drawn down away from the spindle. We've since trimmed the towel to width of the average squash and it lies very flat across the platform giving ample space between it and the moving parts. Again we continue to draw the ends down to keep it taunt over the platform, too.

Cheers,

Casey

I looked at this post, chuckled, then moved on to others. Something was bothering me, though, so I came back and saw what my instincts noticed the first time: ditch that floppy towel because it is an accident waiting to happen. As a 50-year machines-of-various-kinds-operator I see danger there.

Just a friendly warning to hopefully prevent a bad thing happening to nice people.

Ray


Casey Raymond aka CRChemist

Chemist, Homebrewer

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Will it work with apples too???

Never tried it. I have an apple peeler, which works fine on apples but not so well on squash. And for small quantities of apples, a vegetable peeler is great.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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^ I also have an apple peeler, but it isn't a POWER apple peeler. I'm thinking something like this could bring a whole new dimension to apple butter making.

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You know, the best peeler I've ever owned is a Messermeister peeler that I bought at Williams-Sonoma for $5.95. This baby makes short work of butternut squash rinds-no protective gear or electricity needed.

All this and I don't even have to go to the garage to peel them.

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^ I also have an apple peeler, but it isn't a POWER apple peeler.  I'm thinking something like this could bring a whole new dimension to apple butter making.

I have a couple of the old-fashioned apple-peelers and I also have a Rotato Express (2nd generation Rotato) electric peeler (and potato-stringer) which works nicely on evenly-shaped apples. However, unlike my old hand-cranked gadgets, it doesn't core them while peeling.

Rotato Express

However, I have to state that I don't peel or core apples for applesauce/apple butter. I simply quarter them and cook the chunks until soft, then put the pulp through a food mill.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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