How to bake, puree and freeze a butternut squash-YUM

There’s something about eating wholesome food made with REAL ingredients. I received a huge butternut squash picked from aunt’s garden a few weeks ago and I’m finally getting it into the freezer. Thank goodness for that tough skin that preserves the beautiful color inside. I begin by chopping it in half and I mean literally using the largest knife I have and forcing it and whacking it a few times. It’s a little tricky because it’s so dense and heavy, but I’ve managed to split into two pieces and I use a melon ball gadget to scrape out the seeds.

I bake mine at 350 for way over an hour. It ended up being an hour and a half, but my oven was doing what I call double duty (baking multiple items) and I know that’s why there’s so many stab marks (I checked often to see if it was tender). A typical size would take approximately an hour.

Another handy gadget is an ice-cream scoop. I use it to pull the soft interior from the skin (it could be tangerine ice-cream, couldn’t it?) No more fooling, I’ve got some pureeing to do. I allow it cool slightly, about fifteen minutes. I don’t want it to be blazing hot in my food processor.

Or some of you would dig right in with a dash of cinnamon, a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey. Where’s the spoon, right?

Puree until it’s nice and creamy. Add a little water, tablespoon or two if necessary, but not too much! Think thick baby food. Yuck for some of you, think waffles, muffins, pancakes and deceptive cooking. Ahhhhh much better, visual.

Did you know any recipe where pumpkin is used, butternut can be substituted? No joking now. It’s true and taste testers say they taste the same. Well, my five taste testers are going to get their turn to try something new this month.

 

I stabilize my quart bag with a glass measuring cup and use a 1-cup measuring spoon and dip out 2 cups for each labeled quart bag (I label: 2 cups butternut). Try to squeeze out the air when the bag is flat and DO freeze flat because it takes up less room and your freezer will start to look like Martha Stewarts:)

Don’t forget to use your rubber scraper to get that last bit out. I savored about 3/4 cup to blend into some macaroni and cheese and the kids never know it.

I have three 2-cup freezer portions to thaw and use however I please. I’m definitely making my pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and a pumpkin cake which I’ve made for years and years and never posted (shame on me). It’s time.

What pumpkin recipes can you substitute butternut for? Have you ever baked a butternut? 

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Comments

  1. I’ve done this twice. Apparently, my husband didn’t hear me talking about it the first time. The second time, my son (6) looked at it and said, “I don’t like it.” We told him to eat it anyway. “Is that carrots in there?” My husband piped up, “No, it’s cheese! If someone sneaked carrots into my mac n cheese, I’d be seriously peeved.” I giggled. Once he had finished all of the mac n cheese, I told him why I’d giggled. He’d had no idea! His face totally dropped! I told him that I wouldn’t put it in next time. Poor thing felt so deceived!

  2. A tip I got from America’s Test Kitchen a while back: microwave the whole, uncut butternut in short bursts to make it easier to peel and cut up. I usually do it one minute at a time, rotating in between. In 3-5 minutes it goes from feeling like a block of wood to feeling ever so SLIGHTLY pliable. Wait until it’s cool enough to handle. Halve, peel, seed, cut into chunks, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a touch of dark brown sugar and cayenne. Roast at 400 for around 30 mins, or until the chunks are soft and starting to caramelize. Enjoy! If you have any left over serve it over pasta with bacon, sage, and garlic. Yum.

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