Winter Squashes: storing, freezing, using in recipes; Sautéed Butternut Squash, Oriental Style

Now that all of the summer squash is either safely tucked into my freezer or the compost pile, it’s time to tackle the winter squash.

All squashes are cucurbits and, though there are four species of squash that encompass what we have in our gardens and markets, they are usually simply divided into summer squash, which includes yellow crookneck, green zucchini and patty-pan and winter squash which includes pumpkin, acorn, butternut and hubbard.

The main difference is:

Summer squash is harvested while still immature and has a tender skin and seeds that are edible as part of the vegetable.

Winter squash is harvested when fully mature and has a hard skin that is normally not eaten and seeds that must be further processed before edible.

Pumpkin and butternut squash

For long-term storage winter squashes should be left on the

vine as long as possible but picked before the first frost.  Leave at least an inch of stem on the squash (do no use it as a handle) and, if possible, allow it to ‘cure’ in the sun for a few days.  Do not wash.  Store in a cool, dry place far enough apart to allow air to circulate.  Depending on variety and storage it will keep from 2 to 6 months.

Or you can cook it and freeze it.

To freeze pumpkin:

To do this you need pumpkins that have been grown for food and cooking; not carving for Halloween. There is a big difference. The pumpkin for eating will probably not be very pretty and will be very thick fleshed. It may be known in the markets simply as winter squash.

Wash the pumpkin and cut it into large pieces. Remove seeds and stringy bits. Put skin side down in large baking dish (I use 9 X 13 cake pan). Cover with foil and bake in 400F (200C) oven for 90 minutes. Remove and test with fork. It should be very done. With a nice, ripe pumpkin there will be about an inch of liquid in the pan – I haven’t thought of a use for it yet so I toss it out. When pumpkin is cool enough to handle scrape the flesh into a large strainer over a large bowl. Allow to drain for at least 4 hours or until the next day (refrigerate overnight). Measure into freezer bags – 1 1/4 cups for 1 cup of usable pumpkin, 2 1/3 cups for 2 cups of usable pumpkin (you will lose more liquid upon thawing) and freeze. Keeps for 1 year. I can’t tell you what your pumpkin will yield, but my pumpkins each require 4 baking pans full and yield 12 – 15 cups of usable pumpkin.

To roast for eating now: Wash the pumpkin and cut it into serving size pieces. Remove seeds and stringy bits. Put skin side down in large baking dish (I use 9 X 13 cake pan). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and bake, uncovered, in 400F (200C) oven for 45 – 60 minutes. Serve with butter, salt and pepper.

What to do with all the frozen pumpkin?

Make pie, of course.

Or this Pumpkin Gratin

Pumpkin Gratin

Or maybe some Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread; Cranberry Bread
Shown with Cranberry Bread

Freezing butternut squash is similar but simpler:  Peel it using a vegetable peeler, cut it into chunks and roast it, covered for 45 minutes.  It doesn’t contain  as much water as pumpkin so only needs to be drained for a short time. Put it into bags and freeze.

As to the other winter squashes…. I haven’t done it myself, but other sites say they freeze just fine – same method.

What to do with frozen butternut squash?

Make this soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Or this one

Simple Butternut Squash Soup
Or this easy (but fancy) Butternut Squash Timbale with Apple Chestnut Sauce

Butternut Squash Timbale
Or you could just peel it, cut it into chunks and fry it…..

Soy Sauce Glazed Butternut SquashSautéed Butternut Squash, Oriental Style

12oz (350gr) butternut squash 2 – 3 cups small chunks
1/2 onion
1 tbs soy sauce or more Teriyaki if you have it
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame or walnut oil

Slice butternut squash, (.5″, 1.25cm) then cut into bite-size pieces. Roughly chop onion. Heat oils and soy sauce in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash, onions and sauté 15 minutes, until squash and onions are nicely browned. Serve.

8 thoughts on “Winter Squashes: storing, freezing, using in recipes; Sautéed Butternut Squash, Oriental Style”

  1. You could use the liquid instead of water in the next bread you’re baking maybe? Will probably add lots of nutritional stuff to the bread.

  2. We harvested more than 40 butternut squash this year so I’m always looking for new recipes. I shall certainly try Sauteed Butternut Squash, Oriental Style.

  3. Don’t forget to make squash ravioli with sage and walnut cream sauce.
    I never thought of using that liquid that collects after baking a squash; what does it taste like? I suddenly have an urge to get a squash just to find out what the liquid tastes like and then use it in bread making! (Not to mention that I suddenly neeeeeeed to have squash/ginger soup.)

  4. Cindy, I have rather a lot myself – over 20 (a lot for 2 people
    Pam, mine are in the barn – the mice don’t seem to bother them
    Petes, thanks – good luck with it!
    Richelle, I do use the liquid from thawing it in bread, but I’ve never bothered to save the other – lazy, I guess….
    Manningroad, we’re still very seasonal here – and we eat mostly from my garden, anyway ;-))
    Kerry, 40! Wow! I started with 11 then got another crop of 8 more (and there’s a new one now)
    Elizabeth, must make that ravioli while my sage is still good – much better with fresh sage!

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