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This Hands-Off Hack Makes Prepping Winter Squash a Snap

Though colorful winter squashes like acorn, butternut, and pumpkin make for cozy cold-weather meals, they can be kind of daunting (and dangerous!) to cut into. If the idea of slicing one up leaves you scratching your head, we’ve got an easy trick to get you started.

Wash and thoroughly dry your squash and place it on a foil-lined baking sheet. Pop it into a 350-degree-Fahrenheit oven for 15 to 20 minutes, just until the skin of your squash has a little bit of give. Use a fork to gently test it, and continue checking every five minutes until ready. Softening up the squash a tad will make it way more workable.

If a recipe calls for you to peel your squash before cutting, the easiest way to do so is with a standard vegetable peeler (pre-roasting will make peeling easier too). For any chopping, use an eight-to-10-inch chef’s knife to get the job done. Start by slicing off the stem and bottom end of the squash so that you have some flat sides to work with. Then, slice in half lengthwise, scoop out any seeds, and continue on your merry way. Always make sure you’re working on a stable surface by anchoring your cutting board with a damp dish towel or a piece of non-slip shelf liner. You’ll also want to use a sharp knife — a dull knife is more likely to slip and cause accidents.

Ready for more kitchen tricks and hacks? Follow us on Pinterest.

(Photos via Johannes Hofmann / Unsplash, Gemma Evans / Unsplash, Timothy Eberly / Unsplash)

Jessica Smith
Jessica is a blogger and professional pastry cook in San Francisco. When not whipping up desserts, you can usually find her tackling DIY projects with her husband, entertaining for a crowd, or running around the neighborhood with her rambunctious puppy, Rebel. Jessica believes in using seasonal and wholesome ingredients as much as possible and you can check out more of her recipes at her blog: By Guess And By Golly.

Ahhh, fall. There are so many things to love about this time of year (give us ALL the sweaters and pumpkin-flavored eats). But, high on the list comes autumn decor candles, throws, textiles — you name it. Of course, buying items and actually adding them to your room are two different things. So we're turning to Instagram for the best styling advice and inspo for the season. Scroll on to see everything you need to get those wheels turning!

@sbkliving: Sometimes, it only takes a chic doormat to transition your front steps for the season. Hello, fall!

@rachelpuccetti: Excuse us while we spend an entire lazy Sunday relaxing in this fall-infused space.

@farmhousetofrills: A monochrome mantel never looked so chic. (That fireplace pumpkin setup is seriously *genius*.)

@faith_hope_home: Greet guests with a fall-themed entrance to set the tone for a day of pumpkin carving or scary movie marathoning.

@simplysoutherncottage: Don't forget about those nooks and crannies! This entryway/mudroom situation is capturing our little harvest-loving hearts.

@6thirtydecor: Speaking of pumpkins, pick up a few extra gourds to pave the way into your cozy autumn abode.

@farmsteadonfirst: That guest bedroom you weren't sure what to do with it? Transform it into a rustic retreat with some fall signage and mustard-yellow and green accents.

@fiddleleafinteriors: We're going to take a second to *swoon* over this adorable kitchen setup. Those farmhouse accents and simple centerpiece setup? We're in love.

@ohmydearblog: Contrary to what you think, florals *aren't* just for spring. Bring them into your abode by selecting buds in moody tones to pay homage to the season.

@simply.mrs.z: Drawn to modern style? Play up the Halloween vibes by picking black, orange and brass accents to rock on places like your bookshelf. (Bonus points for carrying the theme over to your textiles.)

@drivewaytodreams_crystal: We're going to go ahead and give two thumbs up to all of these orange-hued accents. Backdropped with a neutral furnishings and they truly *pop*!

@cripcollectiveig: For those who don't want to go overboard with the "fall stuff" this one will speak to you. Compile a couple of cute throws and a minimalist pumpkin print on your mantle and you're set

@cavcottage: Who said fun pillows were limited to furnishings only? We're ALL about this entry display.

@houseon77th: This daybed setup is a *dream*. But actually, this would be the perfect space to doze off in come the colder days.

@kristenforgione: For a more festive Halloween look, overhaul your living space with a spooky handmade addition like this one. *Googles paper bat DIYs.*