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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

how to cut up a giant winter squash?

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Every fall our Spanish teacher brings us an enormous winter squash, a sort of hubbard/acorn type that the local indigenous population grows from seeds saved from previous years. I've asked for the name, but she tells me it's just "calabaza" (squash). My dilemma is always how to cut it apart without needing a trip to the emergency room. I have a distant memory of putting it in the microwave to soften the hard skin, but this puppy is way too big for most microwaves. Can I heat it in the oven? Normally I cook it uncut in the oven and scrape out the flesh, but I'd rather have slices to use in gratins or cubes for risotto, that sort of thing, instead of a puree--I still have some left from last year. It's a lovely dry squash very similar in taste to acorn, and I'd like to be able to cut it apart into manageable chunks.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

 

 


Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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Do you own something like this:

1143441125_ScreenShot2019-11-06at7_46_04AM.png.5491c1d2fc35bf914f6f7fde6ac96a91.png

(While visiting husband's Austrian grandmother, she cut us some ham slices from a giant haunch, using something like this.    When we left I told husband, "I NEED one of those!"  )    Useful for large cuts of meat and...giant pumpkins!)


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In Mazatlan, we often watched as the gardeners opened whole coconuts with their machetes.  Would the same thing word on the squash?

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My first thought was a handsome young man with a machete.:raz:

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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The problem with a machete--well, there are 2: first, we don't own one, and second, I've seen way too many people with missing fingers on the non-machete-using hand. But I kinda like the hacksaw idea. I'm pretty sure that our Spanish teacher's husband uses a machete.

 

Thanks--

 

N in P

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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I used to keep a small hatchet for just such uses, but it has long since gone by the wayside. I still have my food-only hacksaw, though. Very handy for sawing through chine bones and the like.

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Funny enough, at the farmers market this past weekend - a gentleman approached the main farmer and asked if he could have a piece of a large European squash varietal.  Mike (the farmer) being a great guy, said sure - and proceeded to drop the beast on the floor, cracking it naturally down the center.  A bit of prying, and done.

 

 

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Power tools work too - like a Saws-All  But but -pricey if you don't already have one. 


Edited by heidih (log)

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31 minutes ago, heidih said:

Power tools work too - like a Saws-All  But but -pricey if you don't already have one. 

 

Problem is making sure you have a dedicated food blade.   (NO ONE touches my food hack saw for any other than food purpose.)


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37 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Problem is making sure you have a dedicated food blade.   (NO ONE touches my food hack saw for any other than food purpose.)

 

The blades come in a multi-pack so easy to keep the food one in the kitchen

 

 

ETA_ eGers are no strangers to power tools for squash   https://forums.egullet.org/topic/109342-peeling-butternut-squash/

 


Edited by heidih (log)
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Chainsaw

 

Its going to make an inedible mess but it will reduce your stress levels......😁

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Chainsaw, nah that's for wimps...go straight for the jack hammer  

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I guess you could set it out on a stump and blast it with a 12-gauge....

 

Seriously, the hacksaw should work fine. If you don't have one, a big cleaver might do it.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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1 hour ago, IowaDee said:

Chainsaw, nah that's for wimps...go straight for the jack hammer  

How about explosives, some food grade dynamite!

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"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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Would ut be possible to get a guy in the marketplace to do it - w/ a generous tip?

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It can be easy and safe. ( yes really)

 

If you have a long thin knife with a pointy tip. Stab the squash with the tip of the knife. You should be able to enter the squash with your knife. Then you just rock the knife seesaw fashion, the squash can be split without much effort. 

 

Or use a Chinese cleaver and a small hammer.

 

dcarch

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1 minute ago, dcarch said:

It can be easy and safe. ( yes really)

 

If you have a long thin knife with a pointy tip. Stab the squash with the tip of the knife. You should be able to enter the squash with your knife. Then you just rock the knife seesaw fashion, the squash can be split without much effort. 

 

Or use a Chinese cleaver and a small hammer.

 

dcarch

 

I think she wants manageable slices to be used in different apps at different times. Yes your suggestion is something I have done with the rocking motion to open  but as the slices get smaller - I don't know. When I buy at Hispanc markets  who routinely have the monsters they will do it for me (wielding a cleaver). Like having your fish dealt with to your liking at an Asian market.

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1 minute ago, heidih said:

 

I think she wants manageable slices to be used in different apps at different times. Yes your suggestion is something I have done with the rocking motion to open  but as the slices get smaller - I don't know. When I buy at Hispanc markets  who routinely have the monsters they will do it for me (wielding a cleaver). Like having your fish dealt with to your liking at an Asian market.

 

Then use my method of safely cut hard squash into small pieces, using only one hand.

That vedio is designed for people who has the use of only one hand.

 

dcarch

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I still vote for the David Letterman-style drop it off the roof and film it and put it on youtube.  Monetize!

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You guys are cracking me up! Right now I'm leaning toward the chain saw for its comedic value, but I think I'll use dcarch's one-handed method. Very clever! I just hope this beast isn't too big for that.

 

I'm still open to further suggestions, of course.

 

N.

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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I'm curious about how you'd peel a squash one-handed after that video.

 

But @Nancy in Pátzcuaro, whichever method you choose, I'd recommend getting some protection between the back of your blade and your index finger when you get around to cutting it. There are few things more irritating in the kitchen than squash blisters on your cutting finger.

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