This tutorial provides a step-by-step guide on how to freeze butternut squash. What do you do when there is an abundance of butternut squash, you freeze it so it is available for use all year round. This process also reduces food waste.
Can you freeze butternut squash
Yes! Butternut squash becomes more versatile when frozen. You can use it in a variety of dishes such as stews, soups, broths, and more. Since it is a fruit, you can also just defrost it later and eat it raw or cooked.
Frozen butternut squash can be roasted with seasoning, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. So, the options that are available with frozen squash are endless.
You can also freeze other winter squashes using this method too.
Why do you need to Freeze this vegetable
- Freezing extends the life of butternut squash, peeled and cubed squash is only good for about 3-5 days if kept in the fridge, but it can last up to 6 months or longer in the freezer.
- When frozen, it makes it convenient to use it for many dishes, especially soups when time is of the essence and you can’t be bothered with the task of peeling and cutting a fresh one
- It is a fall fruit and preserving it in the freezer means you can use it all year long
Tools Needed to Freeze Butternut Squash
Freezing butternut squash is a simple process. The tools you will need will depend on how you choose to freeze it. Some people freeze it raw, others freeze it cooked. Here is a general list of tools that you might need to help with the process.
A sturdy chopping board
A pot, a heat supply, and ice (in case you want to blanch it before freezing, although not necessary)
Ziplock freezing bag
How Important is Blanching Before Freezing Butternut Squash
Blanching can be helpful whenever you are freezing a vegetable or a fruit for longer periods. This is because it prevents the enzyme breakdown that otherwise results in loss of color and taste.
However, blanching butternut squash before freezing isn't necessary. Yes, blanched vegetables and fruits do retain their texture and flavor much better, but unblanched frozen butternut squash still is fresh. It retains its texture and flavor for up to 6 months or longer if stored correctly.
How to Freeze Butternut Squash, a step-by-step guide
First, decide whether you want to freeze the butternut squash raw, cooked, or pureed first. You might choose to freeze butternut squash as cubes, two whole halves, or a puree.
We have mentioned all possible cases and the freezing methods related to them in this step-by-step guide below.
That said, the best way to freeze butternut squash or any other type of squash is to peel and cut it into cubes.
How to freeze Raw Butternut Squash (Cubed)
Here is how you can perfectly freeze raw butternut squash cubes
Carefully cut, peel and deseed the butternut squash.
Cut and dice the squash into desired shapes and sizes
Line a baking tray with parchment paper or use a large Ziploc freezer bag (if freezing immediately)
Spread the cubed squash on a lined baking sheet in a single layer and make sure that they are not touching.
Place the tray in the freezer and freeze for up to 2 hours
Transfer the cubed butternut squash in an air-tight container or a zip-locked freezer bag. Freeze for up to 12 months.
Tip: Leave some space in the container for any expansion upon freezing
How to Freeze 2 halves
Freezing butternut squash as 2 halves can add to its versatility. Especially if you aim to roast it later, this method is perfect for you.
Use a sharp knife to cut the butternut squash in half (you can do this with the unpeeled butternut squash as well).
Scoop out the seeds using a spoon.
Put each half in a separate airtight container or Ziploc bag and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months, longer at your discretion.
How to blanch before freezing
If you would rather blanch before freezing, this method is for you. The primary difference is that we'll first boil the butternut squash for a few minutes and then freeze it.
Peel and cut the butternut squash into desired sizes. Add chopped squash to a large pot of boiling water and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the squash in a colander and rinse under cold running water or an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Allow the squash to cool completely then arrange it on a lined baking sheet in a single layer. Flash freeze for about 2 hours then transfer to an airtight container or Ziploc bag, label, and freeze for up to 6 months
Freezing Cooked Butternut Squash Puree
Freezing the puree is also an excellent way to preserve butternut squash. It allows you to explore new ways of using it. It's delicious in dips, marinades, soups, and chilies, among other things.
It can also be fed as a first meal for babies or used instead of pumpkin interchangeably.
You can choose to steam, boil, or roast the squash before you puree and store it.
Tip: Labeling the container on the day you froze it can help you keep a track of how long to store the squash for.
Tip: If you don’t have space in your freezer for the baking tray then you can use a large Ziploc bag, flatten the bag in the freezer to create space
What is a Butternut Squash?
Butternut squash is a type of winter squash or pumpkin. The fruit is widely available in the fall. However, you can still find off-season butternut squash around the year.
Organically a fruit, butternut squash is used in a variety of cuisines as a vegetable. Since it is roasted, cooked, and even frozen for months, it has a culinary value of a vegetable.
Here is a list of nutrients provided by butternut squash:
- Vitamin A, C, E
Do I need to blanch butternut squash before freezing?
Blanching can always be great for preserving vegetables. However, if you plan to use your squash in the next 6 months, blanching isn’t necessary. Unblanched butternut squash maintains its texture for around 6-12 months.
How long does butternut squash last in the freezer?
It lasts for about 6-12 months. After that, it starts to lose its texture and its color fades.
What is the best month to buy butternut squash?
The best time to buy fresh butternut squash is September through October. Although it may be available throughout the year, you will find the healthiest varieties in the fall.
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How to Freeze Butternut Squash
- sharp knife
- Baking sheet and parchment paper
- 1 butternut squash
- Carefully cut and peel and dressed the butternut squash.
- Cut it into desired shapes and sizes
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper or use a large Ziploc freezer bag (if freezing immediately)
- Spread them on a lined baking sheet in a single layer and make sure that the cubed butternut squash are not touching. Place the tray in the freezer and freeze for up to 2 hours
- Transfer the cubed butternut squash in an air-tight container or a zip-locked freezer bag. Freeze for 6-12 months