Friday, November 8, 2013

Frugal Friday: Kitchen Tutorial - How to Puree Winter Squash

If you've been following this blog for a while you know that I love to use pureed pumpkin or other winter squash in my cooking. Along with adding nutrition to the food I make, it gives it a wonderful warm, homey flavor that I've come to love. We love to grow winter squash in the garden. And one of the best things about it, is they keep for a long time in the basement and I can use them almost all year round.

Last year's squash harvest
I've already shared with you a tutorial on how to freeze winter squash in cubes. Today I'm going to share the instructions for making your own pureed pumpkin or other winter squash. Winter squash (just as a reminder) is any squash that has a really tough outer shell that will store for several months. Some examples would be butternut, pumpkin, Hubbard, sunshine, banana, etc.  You may want to stick with the creamier types of squash for pureeing. Stringy types like spaghetti and acorn squash probably won't give you the greatest results.

How to Puree Winter Squash


STEP 1: First wash the squash, cut the top off, and scoop out pulp and seeds (Don't throw the seeds away - they are healthy and delicious roasted!). 

STEP 2: Next cook the squash using one of the following methods.

  • Microwave Method - Cut up the squash into pieces that will fit in your microwave (no peeling necessary). Cover “meat” side of the squash pieces with plastic wrap and microwave for 5-15 minutes or until "meat" is tender and you can scoop it out with a fork. 
  • Oven Method - Cut up the squash and place, cut sides up, in ungreased rectangular baking dish (13x9x2") (no peeling necessary). Pour water into dish until 1/4" deep. Cover with tin foil and bake in 400 degree oven 30-40 min, in 350 degree oven about 40 min, in 325 degree oven about 45 min or until tender.
  • Boil Method - Peel and cut the squash into slices or cubes (make sure you read my instructions on how to peel one first) - boil cubes in water 15 to 20 min. or until tender.
  • Steam Method - Heat water in steamer pot. Peel and cut the squash into slices or cubes (make sure you read my instructions on how to peel one first). Steam squash slices for 12-15 min. Steam squash cubes for 7-10 min or until tender.
  • Pressure Cooker Method - Cut up squash until it fits inside the pressure cooker (no peeling necessary). Add a cup of water. Cook on high pressure for 5-6 minutes or until tender.

STEP 3: Cool squash to touch. Then scrape out “meat” of squash with a fork. Place the "meat" in a blender or food strainer and puree (adding a little water if necessary). 

STEP 4: Use squash puree in a recipe immediately or divide in usable portions (1/2-Cup, 1-Cup, or 2-Cup increments depending on the recipes you use) and freeze squash in freezer bags.


Here are some of my favorite recipes that use pureed squash:
What about you? What do you do with Winter Squash? I'd love to hear. Happy frugal Friday.

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