When I think of beautiful fall fruits and veggies, butternut squash always pops up in my mind!
My love for this beautiful fruit is abundant! It is famous as a vegetable in cooking more than as a fruit. It’s just such a versatile fruit; you can use it in so many dishes such as soups, stews, chili, lasagna, and more.
However, butternut squash is quite huge, and you simply can’t finish it all in one sitting. Moreover, it is a seasonal fruit, so you can’t have it all year long.
Considering that it is seasonal freezing the fruit comes into the picture!
Freezing any fruit or veggie allows you to save the leftovers and buy them in bulk to use throughout the year.
So, can you freeze butternut squash? Well, read on to find out!
Can You Freeze Butternut Squash?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze butternut squash to enjoy it until the next fall season. You can use frozen butternut squash in a large variety of dishes such as stews, soups, chili, broths, and more. You can also roast the squash and sprinkle your favorite seasonings on it for a delicious meal.
How to Freeze Butternut Squash
You can freeze butternut squash in 4 ways – raw butternut squash halves, raw butternut squash cubes, cooked butternut squash cubes, and pureed butternut squash.
Whichever method you choose depends entirely on how you plan to use the squash later and how much time you have to spare. So, let’s take a look at each method in detail:
Freezing Raw Butternut Squash Cubes
This method is incredibly quick and straightforward, as it doesn’t involve a lot of prep. Moreover, freezing the squash raw provides you the opportunity to use it however you want later on. You can roast it or toss it into stews, soups, and chili without thawing.
Here’s how to freeze raw butternut squash cubes:
- Use a sharp knife to carefully peel the butternut squash. Grip it tightly and peel at an angle for quick results.
- Out the peeled squash on a cutting board and then cut it in half horizontally and take out all the seeds with the help of a spoon.
- Chop the squash halves into 1-inch cubes and place the cubes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make sure that the cubes aren’t touching each other.
- Pout the tray in the freezer and flash freeze the butternut squash cubes for about an hour.
- Transfer the frozen cubes into a heavy-duty freezer bag and leave about ½ inch of headspace to account for food expansion. Make sure to tick a straw into the edge of the bag and suck out all the air. Doing this will vacuum seal the butternut squash and keep it fresh for longer.
Freezing Raw Butternut Squash Halves
This method is perhaps my favorite way of freezing butternut squash, as it allows me to use the squash in so many different ways. I love to roast the frozen halves for about an hour in my oven and season t with my favorite spices and add some melted butter on top.
I also like stuffing the halves with wild rice, dried fruits, and nuts to prepare a hearty dish. What’s more is that this method is super easy, convenient, and quick! Here’s how to freeze raw butternut squash halves:
- Wash the butternut squash as thoroughly as possible.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the unpeeled squash in half.
- Use a spoon to scoop all the seeds out of the halves.
- Put each half in a separate heavy-duty freezer bag and store the bags in your freezer.
Freezing Cooked Butternut Squash Cubes
This method requires some more time and effort than freezing raw butternut squash. However, freezing cooked butternut squash allows you to use it as is in lots of recipes. Here’s how you can freeze cooked butternut squash:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash and then cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise.
- Use an ice cream scoop or metal spoon to scoop out the stringy pulp and seeds form both halves.
- Place both the halves on a large baking dish with deep sides in a way that they are flat inside the dish with the cut-side facing down.
- Pour roughly ½ an inch of water into the dish.
- Bake the butternut squash for about 45 to 60 minutes or until it begins to soften.
- Remove the squash from the oven and let it cool for about 30 to 60 minutes so that you can safely touch it without burning yourself.
- Use your fingers to peel the skin away and a knife to dice the squash into small 1-inch cubes.
- Flash freeze the cubes for about an hour or two on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Transfer the frozen cubes into freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags and make sure to leave ½ inch headspace for the cubes to expand.
Freezing Cooked Butternut Squash Puree
This method is perhaps the best way to store cooked butternut squash because the puree holds up well once it’s thawed. You can use butternut squash purees in dips, sauces, lasagna, soups, stews, and chili.
- Wash and peel the butternut squash at an angle.
- Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and spoon out the seeds form both halves.
- Cook the squash in your microwave for about 10 minutes, then use a form to mash the butternut squash inside the skin.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the butternut squash puree into sections on a baking tray and put the tray in your freezer for an hour.
- Transfer the frozen puree portions into separate freezer-safe containers and label the containers with the current date. Alternatively, you can put the puree into ice cube trays or muffin tins.
Do I Need to Blanch Butternut Squash Before Freezing?
No, it’s not necessary to blanch butternut squash before freezing it. Blanching is a process that allows the frozen fruit to retain its texture and flavor while frozen. However, if you simply devour the frozen, unblanched, butternut squash within six months, then its taste and texture will remain fresh.
How Long Does Butternut Squash Last in the Freezer?
When stored properly, frozen butternut squash will easily last in your freezer for about 6 to 12 months. However, make sure to use raw butternut squash within six months for the best flavor and texture.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks that you can use when you are freezing butternut squash and using the frozen squash in your cooking:
- Don’t forget to flash freeze the butternut squash cubes in a single layer as it prevents the cubes from clumping together.
- Always label the freezer bags with the current date so that you know how long the squash has been in your freezer.
- If you are cutting butternut squash into small squares, don’t discard the smaller chunks. While the cubes can be used in soups, stir-fries, and stews, you can use the smaller pieces to add flavor to quinoa, rice pilaf, and risotto.
The Bottom Line
I hope this guide has successfully answered your question, “Can you freeze butternut squash?” It’s pretty easy and convenient to freeze butternut squash and use it in your recipes when you’re in a hurry. You can store raw or cooked butternut squash and cut it into halves and small squares or puree it before freezing. Frozen butternut squash can last up to 6 months to a year.
So, go ahead and buy this delicious fruit in bulk, freeze it in different ways, and enjoy it all year long!