How to Store Butternut Squash

Save

Butternut squash has a firm rind that insulates it against cool temperatures and other environmental stressors when it's off the vine. Store a whole butternut in a 50-degree-Fahrenheit room, and it lasts 2 to 3 months, with no special care needed. Ideally, you want to keep squash whole as long as possible; it develops a complex sweetness as it matures. If you still haven't used the squash after a month or so, preserve it. Squash stores for a year in the freezer and indefinitely if canned.

Uncooked Cubed Squash

To prep uncooked butternut squash for freezing or refrigerator storage, make it easier to handle. Set it on a moist kitchen towel, and use a heavy chef's knife to slice off the thick stem and about 1/2 inch of the flesh below it. Next, slice the squash in half lengthwise, or, if it's too long to slice comfortably, slice it in half crosswise first; then slice it lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon, and peel the skin with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.

Slice the squash into equal-sized pieces -- 1/2- or 1-inch-cubes or slices work, just slice them as evenly as you can. To store the squash in the refrigerator, pack it in an airtight container -- it will stay fresh about 5 days. To freeze, seal the squash in heavy-duty freezer bags, pressing out the air as you do, and store in the freezer up to 6 months.

Storing Cooked Squash

You don't need to peel the squash if you plan to roast it; the skin pulls away easily, and you can slice it in pieces of the desired size after that. Heat the oven 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut off the stem; slice the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Roast the butternut skin-side-up until tender, about 1 hour. While the squash is still very warm, peel the skin away and discard it. Puree, slice or chop, and serve or store it.

To store, cut the squash into equal-sized pieces or puree it and pack it in an airtight container or freezer bag. You can also spoon the puree into ice-cube trays to make portioning more efficient; simply pop a few pieces out of the tray as needed. If you choose ice-cube trays, wrap each one in a freezer bag. Cooked squash stays fresh about 2 days in the refrigerator and up 1 month in the freezer.

Thawing and Cooking

You can cook raw squash straight from the freezer; simply toss it in a soup or heat it in a 350-F oven until it's hot. After you heat the squash, you can puree it and transfer it to a saucepan for use as a soup base or add herbs and spices and serve it as a stand-alone dish. You can use cooked squash straight from the freezer as well, but you must heat it to 165 F before serving.

Dehydrating

Very dry food -- with less than 5 percent moisture -- stores almost indefinitely. It's difficult, however, to get dense vegetables like butternut squash down to 5 percent moisture unless you slice it almost paper thin; a mandolin works best for this, but at the very least, you need a sharp knife.

Heat the dehydrator to 145 F; if you're using a regular oven, heat it to the lowest setting and wedge a towel in the door to keep it open 1 to 2 inches. Peel and slice the squash in 1/8-inch-thick pieces and lay them in an even layer on the drying trays; use a sheet pan lined with parchment paper for oven drying. You can overlap the slices by about 1/4 inch. Dry the squash for 10 to 16 hours, or until it has a very tough to brittle texture.

Canning

Peel and cut the squash into 1-inch pieces and blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain the squash in a colander and pack them into sterilized canning jars -- leave an inch of space at the top and add water or stock to barely cover. Seal the jars and process them in a pressure canner: 55 minutes for pint jars and 90 minutes for quart jars.

Related Searches

References

Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

Related Searches

Check It Out

13 Delicious Thanksgiving Sides That'll Make Turkey Insignificant

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!