Carving Gourds

Safety reminder as we head into pumpkin and squash season.  All those dazzling orange, red, dark green and yellow squashes are beckoning.  It is total fun to scoop out a sugar pie pumpkin, roast it lightly and use it for a soup bowl (ladle in dramatic black bean stew).  Peeled and diced butternut squash and apples (with onion, chicken or vegetable stock, cream and some curry paste makes the most soothing soup. You don’t even need to peel delicatta squash as its tender out layer softens beautifully when cooked with beans and corn to marry the loyal Three Sisters.  But you do have to cut squashes open to begin any of these culinary events.

One golden autumn day as I was trying to cut a squash with a regular chef’s knife, it slipped.  The blade sliced the web between my thumb and first finger and stitches were required. Since then I have learned that it is best to use a serrated utility knife to carve up big squashes.  The sawing slows down the seconds when you pass through the thick skin into the soft flesh.  Take the time to cut a piece off of the end to create a flat, stable surface. If the squash is oblong, cut it in half to begin with so that the gourd is more manageable.  All this and more is explained in our Roasted Winter Squash video.  Tara Parker Pope (NY Times) writes a round-up of frequent causes of kitchen scars.  Watch out for those big carrots!

We don’t want to Halloween season to be too scary.  Let’s make sure fake blood is all we see on our costumes, yes?

2 thoughts on “Carving Gourds

  1. I appreciate the safety reminders, especially about squash, which is so hard to cut through. But wow, it made me feel physically sick to read some of those chef’s stories in the NYT article you link to. It wasn’t the injuries that were horrible, it was the abuse that goes on in a professional kitchen! If you make a mistake, you’re liable to have your face held against a hot stove or your arm closed in an oven as punshment. If you get a serious injury, you get yelled at and you’re not allowed to go to emergency. Nice.

  2. My friend bakes squash whole in a pot with a little water and a cover. It is really good. Is there any reason why it needs to be carved before cooking?

    Just curious.

    N

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