Friday, October 21, 2011

Preserving Butternut Squash!

We've had a good harvest of butternut squash this year, which I love!  It's not a squash that stores particularly well because it is a bit thin skinned.  In our root cellar, it will be one of the first to break down, get moldy and grow soft.  It can still be used if the skin is moldy - just clean well and peel, but it will get soft quite quickly, too.  We don't want to feast now, and then have none, so we want to preserve some.

Winter squash cannot be safely water-bath canned because it doesn't have the correct acid level and it is too dense to heat up enough to reliably kill bacteria.  It can be pickled, but that's not what we're looking for.  I haven't found any recipes for a jam or butter that could be canned, but filling it with sugar is not we want, either.  So, yesterday I was freezing it!  Quite a simple process, really.  I oven-roasted a whole bunch of butternut, halved and with seeds and membrane removed.  Once I could easily pierce the skin with a fork, it was done!  I scrapped out the cooked meat into a large bowl.  I've noticed this year's butternut has a high water content, so I put scoopfuls in a strainer and let moisture drip out.  Quite an amazing amount: about a quarter cup of liquid for two cups of cooked meat!  I then portioned it into freezer bags and froze!  I've done the bags in one cup portions because we've really been enjoying these muffins with different winter squash.  Now I'm ready for muffins, soups and many other things all winter long!  Hmmm, maybe I need some muffins now!


  1. Normally I cook my pumpkin down every year in a pot and cook off the water, then freeze for later use. Inevitably it's still pretty watery. I like this idea of baking it and straining, seems like a lot less work and far less water in the resulting meat.

  2. It's what I always do for muffins, bread and pie! It's ready to go! I regret the loss of the 'juice' for soups, but I'll make those now with fresh squash and freeze the pre-made soups.