By Julie Christensen

Butternut squash is one of the joys of fall cooking. Rich, smooth and sweet, this squash adapts itself to many flavors and cooking methods. Try making a rich, mellow soup by pureeing roasted butternut and apples with apple juice, ginger and orange juice, or make a puree with butternut squash, ancho chilies 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 butternut squash to buy in this case. A few simple formulas will help you decide.

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One squash usually makes about 4 servings.

Step 1

Weigh the butternut squash. A butternut squash weighing 2 lbs. yields about 3 cups of diced squash after you've removed the peel and seeds. A small butternut squash weighs around 1 lb. and yields 1 to 1 1/2 cups diced squash.

Step 2

Look at the number of servings the recipe makes. Most butternut-soup and -puree recipes serving 4 to 6 people call for 1 to 2 lbs. of butternut squash, or 1 medium-size squash. Double that amount for a larger group.

Step 3

Peel the squash carefully so you don't waste valuable squash. 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 with a spoon, scraping away the slimy residue before cooking.