Don’t stop eating the good stuff just because you have to wrestle with a large squash. Here are a few tricks and gadgets to help make those awkward foods easier to handle…and make that kitchen knife safer…

Microwave a butternut: Next time you’re struggling to peel a butternut squash, use your microwave. Slice off the ends, and poke the skin liberally with a fork. Microwave for two to three minutes (turning after one minute or so). Then peeling (with a vegetable peeler) should be much easier.

Cut off the round parts: If you’re slicing and dicing a butternut squash, make it easier to handle by cutting off the round parts first—top, bottom, then side edges. Now your squash can sit sturdy on your cutting surface for further maneuvering.

Pineapple protection: When you’re cutting up a whole pineapple, wear an oven mitt to protect yourself from the prickly skin.

Rubber glove action: Speaking of mitts, for a better grip while slicing any slippery or awkwardly shaped foods such as melons, mangoes or raw chicken, wear a powder-free medical glove (found in drugstores) on the hand holding the food.

Spoon out that avocado pit: Chefs often use a quick hack (then a twist) with a heavy knife to remove an avocado pit. A safer way is to simply scoop it out with a spoon.

Handy kitchen gadgets…

Mango Splitter: Mimics an apple corer to get around that awkward mango pit.

ScoopSaw: Cuts through tough skins on foods such as melons, butternut squash and pumpkins with an attached scoop that easily cleans out seeds.


Good Grips Avocado Slicer: All you need for nifty avocado slices.

Thanks to, Marjory Abrams, author of the blog “Eat Like Margie”…and Linda Gassenheimer, cookbook author ( for help with these tips.

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