Can I freeze raw chunks of butternut squash?

cloudy_christineNovember 25, 2009

I bought a package of that convenient cut-up butternut squash last week at Wegman's. But with pumpkin pie tomorrow and many days after, I won't want squash soup for a while. Can I freeze it as is? (I'd vacuum seal it.) Web searching is telling me different things. I know in general you blanch vegetables before freezing to stop enzyme action. How much of a problem is this with squash cubes that will probably be used in a month?

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Why not toss it into some boiling water for 5 minutes and then freeze? Then you will be sure.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 10:40AM
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I have been freezing squash cubes for some time since the squash pieces sold here are usually too big to use up before they go bad. Not butternut but similar, orange squash. No blanching no vacuum seal. Just cut into chunks 1 - 2 inches square and put a few in a plastic freezer bag and close with a twist tie. They come out fine, so after a week or two I then put then in the steamer and cook as if they were fresh.

I got that tip from my dietitian, who said squash was easy to freeze.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 11:17AM
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I have freezer full of stuff frozen from my spring garden. I had a garden for the first time in years and since retiring had the time. Unfortunately, I didn't allow for the fact that all the years longing for the time to do this, I had a family at home to help eat it up. Actually the only two things I had a problem with an abundance of were squash and tomatoes. The rest we managed to use up rather quickly. Having said that this is what I did.

Clean your squash and slice in in about 1/2 to 1" pieces. Place on a cookie sheet and place in freezer. When pieces are frozen, remove and place in a freezer bag, I use Food Saver and seal, but a freezer bag will work if you squeeze out as much air as possible. I do not blanch as I don't like the mushy quality it gives the finished product and I haven't gotten sick yet. I froze the tomatoes whole using the same method and use them in cooking. Frozen tomatoes will be mushy when thawed so will not work for anything else. I much prefer the flavor when used in sauces and you don't have all the sodium and preservatives you get in canned.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 12:29PM
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Pre-freezing them on a cookie sheet before bagging is great because you can then remove only as much as you need at any given time. If you mostly use it in soup or baking, you can also cook and puree it and freeze it that way.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 12:36PM
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I haven't completely figured out the freezing butternut thing. I did it once and the pieces came out kind of fishy/off tasting. I didn't eat any of that butternut fresh, so I can't be sure (and I think it was a grocery butternut, not a farmers market one) but I've shied away from freezing in since then. I have frozen butternut soup with good results.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 12:44PM
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I personally do not like the texture of squash frozen w/o some sort of precooking. I cut into 1" chunks and roast until outside is tender but center is still firm to the point of a knife.. Cool, bag and freeze. Then, thaw and finish cooking as the recipe indicates. I feel that uncooked squash is watery when it's thawed. Why not do some both ways and see which you prefer?


    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 1:38PM
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Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.
The texture shouldn't matter too much, since I'll be making soup.
Linda, it's the day before Thanksgiving, and you ask why not just blanch it, LOL! I don't want another thing to do.
Encouraged by SharonCB, I am just going to stick it in the freezer and be done.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 3:37PM
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CC, I concur. If you are going to make soup from it, the texture is not as much as an issue, just freeze it.

I find that the texture of raw frozen squash is watery for my taste, so I cook it and freeze it.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 3:39PM
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I thought that the reason for blanching was to deactivate enzymes in the vegetable. Something that wasn't blanched before freezing won't make you sick but the enzymes my reduce the quality of it.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 8:14PM
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I wish I had the answer. I haven't tried butternut squash but I don't have much luck with banana squash and pumpkin. I have tried blanching, steaming, roasting, and cube-n-freezing, but by the end of the day the pieces never had the right texture and didn't taste the same.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 10:43PM
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