I awoke this morning to a house with a temperature of 59 degrees. I refuse to start the furnace in the Fall before October 1 but yet I was cold. Fortunately, yesterday I purchased butternut squash and pie pumpkins from my local farmers so I turned on the oven at 8 am and started baking the gourds so I can freeze them This is how I do it:
1. Wash the outsides of them with a little dish soap and water, rinse well.
2. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Don’t forget to save the pumpkin seeds for roasting!!
3. Place cut side down on a large pan with sides.
For Squash – I line the pan with foil for easy clean up and pour 2 cups of water in.
For Pumpkins – I add 2 cups of water to the bottom of the pan to prevent them from drying out.
4. Bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes or until soft.
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 30 minutes.
For Pumpkin: Transfer it to a bowl and puree it with a hand mixer; if it is watery drain it in a colander over a bowl.
For Squash: No need to mash or puree it.
7. Scoop into your desired freezer container (glass jar suitable for freezing, plastic container, or freezer bag). Remember to leave space for expansion. Leave at least a 1 inch head space in glass jars or plastic containers.
8. Label with NAME and DATE (pumpkin and squash are hard to tell apart.) Place in freezer.
DO NOT PRESSURE CAN OR WATER BOIL JARS OF PUMPKIN OR SQUASH FOR PANTRY STORAGE!!! The only safe method of long term storage is the freezer. Pumpkin and squash are too dense and home canners can not reach a high enough tempurature to kill the bacteria in them. The pumpkin above is in wide mouth freezer jars.
I have favorite recipes that I use pumpkin and squash for so I freeze them in sizes that match the recipes. Most pumpkin recipes call for “1 can of pumpkin or 2 cups”; pint size freezer jars fit that size.
I use freezer bags (I know not the greenest option; I am open to suggestions for greener gallon size freezer containers!) for the squash because our favorite recipes use 5 or 10 cups of squash, or 1 squash and none of these measurements fit in a jar.