If you are anything like me, you might find squash is the veggie that often goes uncooked in a busy week. Why? Because they have such a long shelf life and, let’s be honest, they can take a bit of time with preparation and cooking. So, when I have a day at home I tend to cook up a bunch of them at once. Today I cooked 6, I like to use different varieties in one batch to change it up and add a more complex flavor (I even used a pumpkin in the mix this time!). So let’s get started:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet or two, depending on how many squash you are cooking, with aluminum foil. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. I like to use a melon baller or ice cream scoop for this but just a simple spoon will do as well. When I scooped out my pumpkin of course I saved the seeds to bake up later. Lay the squash cut side down on the foil, there is no need to spray or grease the foil. Bake the squash for 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the squash. When it’s finished the squash should have a very soft flesh. If you need to give it a few more minutes, go for it.
Let them sit and cool until you can hold them comfortably. Scoop all of the flesh into a food processor and purée until completely smooth.
Let it sit until completely cooled. Scoop all of that beautiful purée into a ziplock bag or two, squeeze all of the air out of the the bag and of course label it so you can identify it later. I don’t know about you, but my fridge and freezer are full and I have more than once had the mystery bag or container. Hmmmm, it could be pasta sauce, beef stock or squash purée. Let me tell you these three are not interchangeable. So, save yourself the mystery and stick a quick label on there.
I then lay the bag flat on a cookie sheet and throw it in the freezer overnight. When tomorrow rolls around, you have a thin bag of squash goodness that can be stored in your freezer vertically, taking up way less space.
Ok, so we have this tasty purée and now what? How about throwing a cup of purée into a batch of muffins, or possibly using a cup in a pasta sauce? Your family and friends won’t even know they are adding vitamins and fiber to their diet, they are just benefiting from the flavor! My favorite is adding a cup to homemade mac and cheese, it contributes to the cheese color and adds a wonderful flavor and creaminess to the dish. This is why I don’t season the purée prior to freezing, your application of the squash may be sweet or savory, season as you wish in the dish your purée is joining.
ENJOY! The possibilities are endless.