Thursday, November 6, 2014

Freezing Butternut Squash

Preparing for the freezer!
It's definitely like clockwork!  In October my DH & I purchase a bushel of Butternut Squash from Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow.  One of our local grocery stores does purchase their supply there, also, but we go "farm to table" ourselves.  The carton is stored in our garage.  It's all part of the plan!    All summer we've dined on locally grown vegetables.  It is definitely a change in the taste when we buy them the remainder of the year at our grocery stores!

A Bushel of Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash is one of my fave vegetables!  You remember my story:  Growing up my family had 2 large vegetable gardens.  We canned & froze the year's supply of our veggies.  The gorgeous Butternuts were one of our last harvests.  Preparing these vegetables & freezing them to enjoy the remainder of the year was definitely a tradition for me.  As newlyweds my DH & I had a great garden when we rented our apartment here in Western Mass.  Our kind landlord plowed a small section of his beautiful lawn, so I could have my garden.   My DH learned about growing veggies & got hooked on the fresh food.  Our corn smelled so good that the local cows visited one day-  much to our surprise.  My DH had grown up in Queens, NY, so it was shocking to see the cows in our garden eating!  Definitely not a common sight in one of the boroughs!    

This past Sunday the Patriots were playing the Broncos & my pots of peeled/ prepared Butternuts were on the stove simmering.  It was time to start tackling that bushel in the garage!  Our weather has gotten colder & the squash needs to be prepared for the freezer.  Even during an exciting football game the tradition lives on!  A good sous chef is an added plus, here!
Freezing Butternut Squash

Utensils I use:  Dutch Oven or Pot, Cutting Board, Knife, Spoon, Colander, Ziploc Freezer Bags, Marker for Labeling 

Butternut Squash  
  1.  Rinse/ clean the Butternut Squash under cold running water.
  2.  Dry.
  3.  Using a cutting board & a sharp knife, cut off & toss the stem and rounded top.
  4.  The long top portion is cut into slices. The slices are circles.
  5.  Cut the peel off & discard.
  6.  Cut each peeled circle into 2" chunks and place in large Dutch Oven/ pot. 
  7.  The lower portion containing seeds remains.  Remove the seeds with a spoon.
  8.  I save as much of the orange vegetable as possible that surrounds the seeds.  Cut off the peel.
  9. Cut into pieces & place in Dutch Oven/ pot.
  10.  Add cold water to container (so it reaches about 2" up in the pot).
  11.  Turn the heat to High.
  12. After a Boil is reached, lower the heat and simmer about 12 - 15 minutes, until pieces can be pierced with a fork.
  13.  During the cooking minutes, carefully stir the Squash pieces often in the pot, so they soften equally.
  14. Drain the squash using a colander.
  15. Return the chunks to the large pot and mash.
     16.  Cool until comfortable to pack in Ziploc Freezer Bags.
     17.  Pack about 2 Cups of mashed Squash in Ziploc Freezer Bags.
     18.  After labeling, store in freezer.

Do you freeze Butternut Squash?  It's a very tasty veggie at dinner during the colder months. 

The Butternut Squash is defrosted in the microwave easily.  First, remove Butternut Squash from bag & place in a covered microwave safe baking dish- leaving an air vent.  No sugar nor butter/ margarine needed, here!  I also use it very often when cooking rather than using pumpkin.  :)


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