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Preparing and Storing Winter Squash

 
Cushaw Squash

Cushaw Squash

Winter squash are abundant this time of year and the great thing about them, they will keep til next spring! That’s why they are called winter squash, they keep over the winter.  Our winter squash are just now coming in.  We have Butternut and Cushaw (sometimes spelled Kushaw) squash this year.

I use a lot of Butternut Squash throughout the year, but especially in the fall and winter, I prepare soups and casseroles with winter squash. Since soups and casseroles often require the squash to be cooked and pureed, later on in this article I offer you instructions for doing just that.

Some other winter squash varieties include:

  • Acorn
  • Ambercup
  • Banana
  • Carnival
  • Delicata
  • Hubbard
  • Spaghetti
  • Turban

You can keep these squash in a cool place for 4-6 months. A basement or even under the bed in a box are good places to keep Winter Squash. As long as they are in a cool, dark well-ventilated place they will keep very well. But if you don’t have ample storage space for winter squash, another great way to store it is to freeze it. Winter squash adapts very well to canning too and I will share how to do that next time.

Pureed Winter Squash can be frozen and kept for up to a year. Its handy to be able to pull out a package of pureed winter squash and make a delicious soup for family or company.

Preparing Winter Squash

Butternut Squash ready for baking

Butternut Squash ready for baking

You don’t boil Winter Squash, you bake it; and while I’m thinking of it, don’t boil Sweet Potatoes either.

Just pop them into a 350° F oven and bake til they are tender, then you can scoop out the flesh and continue with your recipe.

For the Butternut Squash, split the Squash length wise. You can scoop out the little pocket of seeds before you bake it or after.

Most fresh Butternut Squash will take about 45 minutes to get tender, but just keep checking with a fork. The fork should pierce the skin and go through the flesh with no trouble at all.

Once they are baked, you can scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Holding the squash with a napkin while it is hot is generally a good idea. You can add a pinch of salt to the pureed squash if you like, it will help it keep a little better.

Next you will want to put the Squash into either rigid containers or zip top bags to freeze. You could freeze the squash in glass jars too, just don’t fill them full.

Be sure to label your packages and place them in the freezer. When you are ready to use it, just pull it out and defrost in the frig, then use in your recipes. Because you baked it and didn’t boil it, you won’t have to deal with very much drippy, excess water in the squash.


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