Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WFMW - saving squash and pumpkin

It's that time of year! Pumpkins and squash are on sale and available at most farmers markets.  I use pumpkin in baked goods, pancakes and waffles for my kids to give them an extra bit of vitamins.  I ran into problems because rarely did the recipe need a whole can of pumpkin and I was wasting the rest.  So I started freezing the left overs. 

Then, my kids started going on field trips to the pumpkin patch where they got these little pie pumpkins that weren't big enough to carve.  So, I started cooking them and freezing them to use instead of the store bought canned pumpkin.  Now, I do it with squash too.

Here's what you need:
squash or pumpkin
food processor
muffin pan (silicone works best)
1/4 cup measuring cup
9x13 cake pan

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Cut your pumpkin or squash open and take the seeds out (I usually cut mine in half from stem to bottom). Place the pumpkin in the cake pan cut side up and put some water in the bottom of the pan.  Bake it until it's soft.  I didn't time mine, but I think it was about an hour. It'll vary depending on the size of your pumpkin or squash.

Let it cool.  Peel off the skin, it should be soft enough that you don't really need a knife to do this.  Then cut it into chunks and put it in the food processor.  Puree until it's smooth.

After it's pureed, using your 1/4 cup measure, scoop 1/4 cup into each of the cups in your muffin pan.  Freeze it (I do it over night). Once it's frozen solid, pop them out and put them in freezer bags.

Now, the next time a recipe calls for pumpkin, I can just pop out what I need and thaw them quick in the microwave.  I've found that there's a little more moisture than what's in canned pumpkin. Some of it comes out when I microwave. I just use my judgement when I'm making something on whether I drain that off or add it in.  You could probably cook it down more after you've pureed it a bit to get some of the extra moisture out. 
Now is the time to get your pumpkin and squash.  In the pictures, I used butternut squash. I got a huge one for $1.  I'm getting more out of it than the boxes I'd buy at the store for more than that. And I can use it in place of pumpkin in recipes too. 
You could shred zucchini and freeze it this way also!
What do you like to freeze? Any recipe recommendations for pureed squash?
For more tips go check out We Are that Family's Works for Me Wednesday post.



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