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Author Topic: Methods of freezing Acorn and Butternut squash  (Read 76534 times)
picker2b
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Zone 7a -Copper Hill, VA


« on: July 16, 2008, 03:20:39 PM »

Hello Group!

I am going to have many many squashes, ground planted.  I have both Acorn and Butternut.

Do any of you freeze these and if so what is your method?

Thanks in advance.
Pat

(EB's were used for, Peppers, melons and brocoli.)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 03:24:49 PM by picker2b » Logged

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Deb
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The Pacific NorthWE'T - Sunset - W. Climate Zone 6


« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2008, 05:59:28 AM »

Both acorn and butternut are winter squash.  That means they can be stored for most of the winter in a cool dry place.

When I have a big winter squash and only need part of it for a meal, I cook the whole thing and then freeze (airtight container or zip bag) the leftovers.  Then they are ready for a quick meal or a 'pumpkin' pie.

It is not recommended to home can squash/pumpkin puree.

Deb
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picker2b
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Zone 7a -Copper Hill, VA


« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2008, 08:30:13 AM »

Thanks Deb,

We'll eat or store as many as we can, but there will be those that I will freez.

I do like squash pie.

Pat

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Eric-02476
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Zone 6A Eastern MA


« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2008, 10:05:31 AM »

This is something I have a lot of experience with, due to a longstanding butternut squash and pumpkin addiction. I freeze a lot of butternut and pumpkin for use in pie and soups.

First, Deb is correct that winter squash will keep well in a cool, dry place. The key here is both cool and dry. The ideal temperature is somewhere in the 40s to lower 50s. If your basement stays dry all winter and it's not heated, that may work as a sort of "root cellar". Because I have a big ol' boiler in my small basement, it heats up into the 70s so I store my winter squash in my "root attic" Smiley My attic stays dry and in the low 50s all winter, and I kept a lot of butternut squash there through March this winter (by April I'd eaten it all).

But I realize you are asking about freezing methods. I freeze it both in 1" chunks for use in squash soups (yum!) and also in puree for use in pies or super-quick soups (another yum!). I find that a FoodSaver or other brand vacuum sealer is really valuable for freezing squash -- I've never had freezer burn or even much frost on the squash, and have I literally kept frozen puree for a year using my FoodSaver.

If you don't vacuum seal the squash, I'd put it in a double layer of freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing -- it won't last as long and you might get some frost, but should still last 3 or 4 months.

Freezing chunks is self-explanatory - just peel, gut the strings (roast the seeds if you like), and cut it up.

For puree, this is what I do - I admit, it's kind of complicated, so I tend to make an afternoon of it and do a large amount of squash at once.

1. Peel and cut the squash in half.

2. Roast the squash halves in the oven, cut size down in a pan with 1/4" in of water to prevent scorching, at 350 to 400 degrees until a fork pokes through with no resistance. You can also microwave or cut it up in chunks and steam it -- but roasting will concentrate the sugars wonderfully.

3. Let the roasted squash cool and then peel it with your fingers -- peels will slip right off it you've roasted long enough.

4. Puree the cooked squash in a food processor or food mill. A blender doesn't really work too well. A stand mixer at progressively higher speeds can work OK if you don't mind some lumps and a few strings. I puree the heck out of it in my food processor until there are no stringy bits left.

5. IMPORTANT STEP: You want to drain your puree to get rid of excess water. If you make a pie with fresh puree, this will keep your pie from being soupy; if you're freezing puree it will freeze better with fewer ice crystals. I like to line a colander with a bunch of overlapping coffee filters, spoon in the puree, set the colander in a large bowl, cover the whole thing w/ plastic wrap, and drain overnight in the fridge. But even a few hours of draining at room temperature will help, although it's safer to use the fridge.

6. Measure the puree in 2-cup amounts (or whatever you want for future recipes). If you're not using a FoodSaver type device, you can put in freezer bags now. If you are going to vacuum seal, it's helpful to freeze the puree a few hours in a flexible plastic container (I use the shallow, rectangular Glad food storage containers from the grocery) to firm it up, then pop out the frozen blocks of puree and vacuum seal individual blocks for long term storage.

Believe it or not, once you get some practice at this method, it really doesn't take that much actual time -- a lot of it is waiting when you can do other things. Sort of like baking bread.

Eric, the cucurbit fiend
« Last Edit: July 17, 2008, 10:15:45 AM by Eric-02476 » Logged
picker2b
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Zone 7a -Copper Hill, VA


« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2008, 12:45:00 PM »

Thanks Eric,

This information is really helpful! Smiley

Pat
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Donald1800
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Fontana, CA Zone 8


« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2008, 03:44:25 PM »

I just had to jump in here and support the suggestion about the FoodSaver vacuum sealing system.  As far as I'm concerned, ANYONE with a garden should have one - in fact I consider it a MUST HAVE rather than should have.

Once you have the vacuum sealer, the next MUST HAVE is a high quality dehydrator along with books on dehydrating.  With these two systems in your kitchen, you will have the capability to save, package and store leftovers, complete meals and individual types of fruits and veggies for use later.  Besides reconstituting them in your kitchen for daily meals, they are also valuable and convenient for camping/backpacking and during emergency situations.  You can't loose with this equipment.

Donald1800
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Perky
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Bedford, VA; USDA Zone 7A


« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2010, 12:11:34 PM »

I just had to jump in here and support the suggestion about the FoodSaver vacuum sealing system.  As far as I'm concerned, ANYONE with a garden should have one - in fact I consider it a MUST HAVE rather than should have.

Once you have the vacuum sealer, the next MUST HAVE is a high quality dehydrator along with books on dehydrating.  With these two systems in your kitchen, you will have the capability to save, package and store leftovers, complete meals and individual types of fruits and veggies for use later.  Besides reconstituting them in your kitchen for daily meals, they are also valuable and convenient for camping/backpacking and during emergency situations.  You can't loose with this equipment.

Donald1800

Donald,

It sounds like you are very well versed in dehydrating, bag vacuuming, and re hydrating food stuffs.  Because I have come to respect your opinion I (and probably a bunch of other forum users) would appreciate it if you would post your recommendations on books and/or dehydration equipment. 

Also, and I'm going to ask a really stupid question here, what types of veggies can be dehydrated and then re hydrated/reconstituted?  I'm having a really hard time envisioning dehydrating tomatoes, green beans, squash, zukes, etc., never mind figuring out how to rehydrate them and whether or not they can then be used in cooking.    Huh?

Many thanks for your input (and for not laughing too hard),
Perky
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kathy
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The EarthBox
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The mountains of PA Zone 5, almost 4.


« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2010, 12:19:05 PM »

I am not saying Donald isn't going to respond.....but watch the dates folks...you are quoting and asking questions to posts and posters from 2008!

And I removed the other post that was a sneaky spammer sticking in a promotion on food savers.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 12:23:24 PM by kathy » Logged

kath, gardening is my game,  over 45 years in the business.
Perky
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Bedford, VA; USDA Zone 7A


« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2010, 03:46:16 PM »

I am not saying Donald isn't going to respond.....but watch the dates folks...you are quoting and asking questions to posts and posters from 2008!

And I removed the other post that was a sneaky spammer sticking in a promotion on food savers.

Oh (unprintable exclamation!)!!  Thanks Kathy.  I usually try to pay attention to the dates of the posts, but I guess I forgot.  MY BAD!

Thanks again!
Perky
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Deb
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The Pacific NorthWE'T - Sunset - W. Climate Zone 6


« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2010, 03:37:43 AM »

You've heard of 'sun dried tomatoes'?  A food dryer gives you a more consistant, cleaner end result.  I like paste type tomatoes best for drying.  If you overdry tomatoes (or corn) the natural sugars will turn brown - this doesn't really affect the taste, but it looks ugly.

I have grated zucchini and carrot and then dried them.  Added to soup, stew, meatloaf, or bread they'll absorb a little moisture, so you might want to compensate for that.  But the results are great.

I dice and dry peppers.  I like a mix of colors.  This sits in a jar close to my stove so I can grab it easily.  I usually soak peppers in hot water for a few minutes before adding to omelets, but soup and meatloaf can handle the dried pepper.

Green beans should be blanched and partially frozen before drying.  You'll end up with a better product.  Corn dries better if blanched too.  Both will reconstitute in the soup pot.

Dried veggies will keep their flavor for about a year if stored correctly.    A 3 day stint in the freezer is almost mandatory to eliminate the possiblility of any bugs or their eggs still being alive in your dried food.  I like to store dried veggies and fruit in the freezer.  They keep better and don't take up much room.  I think I read that a 'normal' conversion is a bushel of fresh = a gallon dried vegetable.

Try small amounts the first year.  If you don't use it, you won't want to spend the time and electricity doing it again. 

CostCo sells jars of dried diced onion and garlic that are more consistant size than I could make.  I'll keep buying those.  ;>

For more ideas:  Local Extension office, www.uga.edu/nchfp/

Deb
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Perky
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Bedford, VA; USDA Zone 7A


« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2010, 02:34:38 PM »

Deb,

Thanks so much for your insight and especially that link -- there is some pretty scary stuff about home preserved green beans there!

Perky
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Deb
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The Pacific NorthWE'T - Sunset - W. Climate Zone 6


« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2010, 06:32:57 AM »

It's good to be scared!  Every cemetary (probably) has a family plot where they all died within days of each other - possibly after a family feast.  ;<

And it's so easy to do it safely!  Our grandmothers didn't have the tools or knowledge we have now.  Sometimes I wonder how any of our parents survived!

Low acid food (some fruits, vegetables, and meats/fish) need canning under pressure, using a pressure canner, not a pressure cooker.

Pickles, most fruits, and high sugar fruit spreads can be safely preserved using a boiling water bath.

Vaccuum sealed (fresh) foods still need to be frozen for safe storage.

Deb
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movrshakr
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Zone 10a- near Cape Canaveral


« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2010, 01:12:50 PM »

,,,And it's so easy to do it safely!  Our grandmothers didn't have the tools or knowledge we have now.  Sometimes I wonder how any of our parents survived!

I suspect they survived because after a few generations had people die due to 'wrong way,' the 'right way' was preserved (no pun intended) in memories and passed along generation to generation, along with the consequences of doing it wrong.  

In previous generations, food was a primary concern, so people learned how to do right things--to survive.  It may become so yet again.
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Deb
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The Pacific NorthWE'T - Sunset - W. Climate Zone 6


« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2010, 07:04:32 PM »

Grandma used to boil the jars for hour after hour on a wood stove - she used her outdoor 'kitchen' for this because it would heat up the house too much.

I wonder if her corn and beans had any nutritional value left at all when she was through?  Maybe all that was left in the jars was 'filler' so the family didn't know they were nutritionally starving - kinda like some of the packaged/processed food we find today that add calories without nutrition.

Of course, Grandma knew her family needed an herbal 'spring tonic' to gear up for the demands of summer work.  ;>

Deb
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