Last updated on September 24th, 2022 at 06:37 am
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In the fall, pumpkins are used for all sorts of recipes. People go crazy over this orange and round vegetable. Its taste is signature to the autumn season and you will see everything from pumpkin flavored drinks like coffees to food made with pumpkins.
Did you know that pumpkin is a type of winter squash? There are also delicata squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, and the list goes on.
If you have a lot of winter squash, storing it is a good idea so you can save it for later. But, can you freeze winter squash?
You can freeze winter squash to preserve it for future use. When stored properly, it will stay good for up to 6-12 months in the freezer.
What is winter squash? When we think of squash our minds might immediately go to the zucchini or yellow squash. But these kinds of vegetables are the summer version. Winter squash is a bit different.
One way that winter squash is different from summer squash is that it is eaten when the seeds are mature and when the skin has hardened. Generally, winter squash is cooked before you eat it and the skin or rind is not consumed like it is with summer squash.
You already know of a very popular winter squash, the pumpkin. If you are a baker who loves fall, you most likely will be using this type of winter squash a lot. You may even be using other types of winter squash for your cooking.
When you end up with many taking up your counter space, you can freeze them. Freezing is a great way to preserve this vegetable to use in the upcoming weeks and months. It keeps it good for when you are wanting to make that recipe that calls for winter squash down the road.
How Do You Freeze Raw Winter Squash?
Freezing winter squash to preserve it until you want to use it is a good idea. This process will keep it good and fresh until use. But how can you do this the right way?
You can freeze winter squash raw, cooked, or blanched by following some simple and easy steps.
All of the winter squashes can be frozen if you want to save them for future use. The freezing method used for these is a little different than freezing summer squashes so it is good to know exactly how to store winter squash to keep it good until you want to use it.
Although you can cure the squash to keep it good, I will discuss the freezing method.
First, squashes such as butternut and acorn squash can be frozen raw but pumpkin and spaghetti squash should be cooked before freezing to keep it good. To freeze winter squash just wash, dry and peel it. Then cut it in half and scoop out the seeds.
Chop the squash into cubes and lay in an even layer on a baking sheet. Leave this in the freezer for about an hour then transfer to a freezer container or freezer bag.
Remove all the air and seal it tightly. Then label with the current date and place it in the freezer for up to 6 to 12 months.
If you don’t have the time to cook some of the winter squashes before freezing them, try to at least blanch them. Blanching the squash before freezing is also a great way to preserve it.
After you have cubed the squash, place them in boiling water and then in ice cold water for 3 to 5 minutes each. Then transfer to the freezer container or freezer bag, label and store in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Winter Squash Without Blanching?
Blanching helps the winter squash maintain its color and flavor but when you don’t have the time to blanch it, can you just skip this step?
Even though blanching will preserve the vegetable, you can still freeze winter squash without blanching it.
To freeze winter squash without blanching follow the steps on how to freeze it by just skipping the blanching process.
After washing, drying, and peeling the squash, lay them out in an even layer on a baking sheet to freeze it for about an hour. Then transfer the squash to a freezer container or freezer bag and store for 6 to 12 months until you want to use it.
Different Types Of Winter Squash
There are many different types of winter squash that you can use to cook or bake with. Some of the most popular ones are listed below.
Let’s look into some of the winter squashes:
Delicata Squash is a thin and pale yellow vegetable with green stripes. It has a tasty yellow flesh that can be baked, fried, braised, or steamed.
This squash is also called “sweet potato squash” and is rich in potassium iron and vitamins A and C.
Acorn Squash resembles a large acorn. It has green fading to orange skin and orange flesh that can be roosters, braised, steamed, or sliced in half and baked with butter or olive oil to be eaten straight out of its shell.
Butternut squash is a pale yellow almost cream on the outside while the middle is orange and sweet. They have smooth but thick skin and can be baked, simmered, braised, and steamed.
Hubbard squash’s skin is bumpy and its color varies from orange to deep green. Its yellow orange flesh can be grainy and is rich in Vitamin A along with having a good amount of iron and riboflavin.
Spaghetti squash is called this because when it is cooked, its golden flesh separates like strings of spaghetti and it is often served with sauces.
Its pale yellow shell is hard and smooth and is prepared in casseroles or baked whole like a potato.
Turban squash is short and colorful with a turban-like object on the top. Because they look unusual these are normally used for decorative purposes but you can also bake, steam, and simmer them.
Kabocha Squash is similar to acorn squash but is a Japanese squash with a dense flesh that is good for mashing, baking, and soups.
Sweet Dumpling Squash
Sweet dumpling squash is about the size of an apple with the shape of a pumpkin. It can be used for decoration but has a sweet and tender flesh that is great for stuffing meats, grains, cheeses, and other veggies.
Sugar pumpkin is your popular fall pumpkin. It’s used for decoration during the autumn season but its flesh is good for pies, breads, muffins, cupcakes, soups, etc.
Red Kuri Squash
Red kuri squash is a tear drop-shaped pumpkin also known as “orange Hokkaido pumpkin”. Its rich, orange outside can be eaten after cooking and its smooth yellow insides have a chestnut flavor and can be used for stuffing.
Carnival squash has a colorful rind and is a cross between the acorn squash and the sweet dumpling squash and is used the same way as both of these.
Buttercup squash is similar to kabocha squash but has a square shape. It has a green rind and orange flesh that can be roasted, baked, mashed, or stuffed.
You can definitely freeze winter squash so it stays good for when you want to use it weeks or months later. This veggie lasts for 6 or 12 months in the freezer and can be frozen raw, cooked, or blanched.
Winter squash can be frozen by following the simple and easy steps mentioned in this article.
Now, you can enjoy winter squash for many months out of the year. That means you can have pumpkin flavored food all the way into the winter.