When it comes to preparing butternut squash the first thing most of us tend to do is cut off the skin. The skin is hard in texture and can be rather bitter to eat if not prepared well. It has become something that we just do without too much thought but is butternut squash skin unsafe to eat?
Yes! You can eat butternut squash skin. It is perfectly safe to do so and can be delicious if prepared correctly.
Butternut squash skin can be tough and unpleasant to eat. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you prepare and cook the skin well, you can enjoy it, turning it into a great snack or side dish. We’ll get into all the details below.
What Does Butternut Squash Skin Taste Like?
Butternut squash skin tastes reminiscent of the taste of the squash you are used to, but it has some added bitterness.
This bitterness is easy enough to balance out with the right seasoning and the correct cooking method. The biggest problem is that the skin can be quite tough to get through, so you must either soften it or crisp it up well if you plan to eat it.
There is a little difference in taste between the seasons. In winter, the skins are likely to be tougher and more bitter than in summer. This is because the winter squashes tend to be a little more mature, so they have had the time to develop a tough outer skin to protect the vegetable underneath.
If you can, grab some younger butternut squashes that are smaller in size, you’ll find that the skin will be a little easier to eat. Unfortunately, most supermarket squashes are grown as big as possible so this is only feasible if you grow your own.
How to Eat Butternut Squash Skin
Butternut squash skin doesn’t have a huge amount of uses, but there are a couple of ideas you could try to reduce your food waste and find a use for these skins.
When you peel your butternut squash, keep the peelings to make crisps. You can throw these onto a baking tray with a little olive oil and your favourite seasonings and pop them in the oven to bake.
They should crisp up nicely and make a lovely alternative to potato crisps.
Perfect for a healthy snack to add some extra nutrients to your diet. Try them with garlic and a little salt, or why not add paprika, sumac or even some curry powder for some added spice?
You can always leave the skin on your butternut squash when you cook. To ensure the squash is tasty and easy to eat, you need to slow roast it. This helps to soften the skin and make it much easier to chew.
Roasting will also make it really easy to peel the skin away should you decide you don’t actually want to eat it in the end.
If you loved stuffed peppers, then you could try using butternut squash skins as an alternative. Slow roast your butternut squash with the skin included until the insides are soft and the skin is malleable.
Then scoop out the squash and mix it with your favourite ingredients and seasoning. Add some cheese and pop the mixture back into the squash to cook again for another fifteen to twenty minutes.
There is no getting away from the fact that butternut squash skin is a little tough to eat, but they are perfect for making this delicious meal, and if you roast the squash slowly, they should soften enough for you to enjoy.
Benefits of Eating Butternut Squash Skin
The biggest benefit of eating butternut squash skin is not wasting food. There is no reason not to eat this part of the vegetable, and it is a shame to go to waste simply because it’s a little more difficult to use.
Another benefit is the extra nutrition. It is often thought that a lot of the nutrition in vegetables in fruit and vegetables is held in the skin! All those vitamins and nutrients would be wasted if you threw away the skins of the squashes.
Should You Eat Butternut Squash Skin?
There is no reason not to eat the skins of your butternut squash. They are good for you and completely safe to eat. Eating them reduces a little extra waste and provides you with extra nutrients.
The only reason you might want to avoid them is that they are bitter in taste and a little tough to eat unless you cook them very slowly in the oven.
Butternut Squash Skin FAQs
If you’ve got other specific questions about eating butternut squash skins then these might help:
You can eat butternut squash seeds in the same way you’d use pumpkin seeds in salads or as a topping for soup. You can even eat them as a snack. We would advise cleaning them under cold water before drying. Once dry, toast them in a pan to make them crunchy and nutty in flavour.
You can eat butternut squash raw, but we recommend using a peeler to create very thin ribbons. If it is not cut thin then it can be unpleasant and tough to eat, unfortunately.
Butternut squash might be the most common squash you can buy but there are a whole variety of squash you can eat throughout the year. The good news is that you can eat the skin of any squash.
Yes, if you break the skin down enough and cook it for long enough to soften it then a decent blender will make light work of blitzing the skin into a soup.
Lewis is the founder and editor of Let’s Foodie alongside other food-related platforms including FreezeIt and SubstituteIt. He launched Let’s Foodie to provide aspiring cooks with one place to get the answers to some of the most commonly asked cooking questions.