Butternut squash is one of the most taxing vegetables to prepare for cooking. You need to peel, chop, and boil it before you can roast it in the oven. Doesn’t sound like too much effort, but butternut squash is a big vegetable. You need a large knife to get through that thing.
Luckily for you, you can freeze butternut squash for your convenience. You can peel and chop the vegetable before freezing it so that you can cut two steps from the preparation of your cooking process.
Today we’re going to be looking at how you can freeze and defrost butternut squash easily as and when you need it. There are also some factors to consider before freezing your butternut squash, so we’ll also be looking at these to give you a well-rounded judgment.
How To Freeze Butternut Squash
Before you can freeze your butternut squash, you’ll need to prepare it properly. This means that you’ll have to peel and chop up your butternut squash into pieces that you’ll want to use in the future. Don’t cut them too small or too big, as chopping frozen vegetables are much more difficult once they’re frozen rather than before they’re frozen.
Next, you’ll need to parboil your butternut squash in lightly salted water. They only need five minutes or so in the boiling water, or until the edges are soft enough for a fork to be poked through. The chunks should not be cooked completely, though, so stick to around the five-minute mark.
Now you should drain your butternut squash and place the chunks into some iced water. This ensures that they stop cooking and the temperature is brought down. Drain and pat the vegetables dry. Place the chunks on a baking sheet, making sure that they are not touching one another.
Flash freeze the butternut squash in the freezer from 4 hours to overnight. Once they’re firm to touch you can transfer the butternut squash into a freezer bag and replace it in the freezer to completely freeze. You can leave it in the freezer for up to nine months, so make sure you date the freezer bag.
How To Defrost Butternut Squash
Many people enjoy the fact that you don’t need to defrost your butternut squash at all. Like many other frozen vegetables, you can throw your butternut squash into a pan of boiling water and have it cooked within a few minutes. You can then roast it just as you would if it was freshly prepared.
However, other people prefer to defrost their butternut squash before cooking it again. There are a few ways to do this, including using the microwave or the refrigerator. There is a defrost setting on your microwave that uses a fraction of its normal power to defrost foods.
You can use this for your butternut squash. It won’t take long at all, so make sure that you keep checking on your butternut squash to avoid it getting cooked inside of the microwave. Alternatively, you can place however many chunks of butternut squash you need into a bowl and keep them in the refrigerator overnight.
By the time you wake up in the morning, your butternut squash chunks will be ready for whatever dish you’re planning to use them for. Some people prefer this method as it ensures an even cooking time throughout the chunks.
However, roasting butternut squash right out of the freezer can result in crispy outsides with soft insides thanks to the outside being able to cook quicker than the inside. Just make sure that you leave the chunks in the oven for long enough so that they’re completely defrosted all the way through.
Factors To Consider Before Freezing Butternut Squash
When freezing butternut squash, you need to be aware of the possible outcomes that can arise. Like with any vegetable, the texture might change once you freeze and defrost your butternut squash. This is because a large percentage of the butternut squash is water.
Once this water is frozen and then defrosted, it gets removed from the vegetable and leaves it with a limp and mushy consistency. This is not what most people want out of their butternut squash, so you should think about what you want to use it for.
The best uses for frozen butternut squash are soups and purees. Stews can also work well as the butternut squash needs to be quite soft anyway. However, for other dishes, you might prefer to use fresh butternut squash instead.
You can freeze butternut squash whole, but personally, we find the preparation work makes the world of difference when it comes to using the leftover squash. If you freeze the entire squash you’ll need to defrost it all at once, possibly resulting in wastage of food anyway.
Chopping and peeling a mushy butternut squash is not as easy as doing so before putting the chunks into the freezer, so we’d recommend doing the prep work beforehand. This way you’ll also be able to grab as many chunks as you need to avoid wasted food.
Overall, you can freeze butternut squash and it is relatively easy to do so. Freezing butternut squash can help you to prepare your meals easier and prevent wasting any food. Flash freezing is the best process for freezing this vegetable, so you’ll need a baking tray and an empty shelf in the freezer.
Make sure you peel, chop, and boil your butternut squash before doing so. This keeps the vegetable preserved perfectly while in the freezer. You can keep the bag of butternut squash chunks in the freezer for up to nine months!
Many people don’t bother defrosting their frozen butternut squash and simply throw it all in a pan to defrost and cook at the same time. Thawed butternut squash can be mushy and limp, so it’s best used for soups, purees, and stews.
However, you can still roast defrosted butternut squash as long as you don’t mind a slightly different texture to fresh butternut squash.