Butternut squash is one of the joys of fall cooking. Rich, smooth, and sweet, it adapts itself to many flavors and cooking methods. Try making a rich, mellow soup by puréeing roasted butternut with apples, apple juice, ginger, and orange juice, or make it zesty with ancho chiles and cilantro.

Many recipes list butternut squash by the pound. Occasionally, though, a recipe may measure the squash in cups instead. Cooks often wonder how much to buy in this case. Here are a couple of simple guidelines.

Weigh the butternut squash. Two pounds yields about 3 cups diced squash (peeled and seeded).

Look at the number of servings the recipe makes. Most butternut soups and purées serving 4 to 6 people call for 1 to 2 pounds of squash, or 1 medium-sized squash. Double that amount for a larger group.

When in doubt, buy extra squash. You can always save it for another meal later.

Peel the squash carefully so you don’t waste much of it. Cut the top and bottom off and remove the peel with a sharp knife or peeler. Cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and scrape away the slimy residue with a spoon before cooking.

References and Resources

Gourmet Sleuth: Butternut Squash Fine Cooking: Butternut Squash "The Martha Stewart Cookbook"; Martha Stewart; 1995