Butternut squash is a great winter squash which is widely available in the autumn and winter, packed full of vitamin C and other much-needed goodness in the darker months.
Although you can find it out of season in the spring and summer months, you will often pay much more for it than if you buy it when it’s in season. This is to cover the costs of it being imported from other places where it is currently available.
Combining the extra money with how difficult it can be to use the whole fruit before it goes off, it helps immensely that you can freeze it.
Keep reading to discover the different ways you can freeze butternut squash (see also Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash) and how to defrost it, and which ways might suit you best.
How Do You Freeze Butternut Squash?
Butternut squash can be frozen in several ways, and which one you choose depends on how you like your butternut squash cooked, and what you plan on using it for once it has defrosted (see also Can You Freeze Butternut Squash Soup?).
It’s best to plan ahead if you can, but no big rush. Once frozen, butternut squash will last up to 2 years once frozen.
How To Freeze Raw Butternut Squash
This is a great way of freezing squash when you’re not sure what you want to use the defrosted squash for, as it keeps the options open.
Make sure the butternut squash is as fresh as possible. You’ll want to remove the skin, the stem, and the seeds to make life much easier.
Dice the raw squash (see also our article on freezing Zucchini‘) into bite size cubes. Grab a baking tray, and line it with parchment.
Lay the pieces onto the tray in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch, and put the whole thing into the freezer for an hour or so, until the squash is frozen solid.
Decant the squash into resealable freezer bags, label, and freeze. The pieces will last up to a year this way.
How To Freeze Mashed Butternut Squash
Freezing mashed butternut squash (see also Freezing Potato Mash) is a great way for those who don’t have a lot of time on their hands. It means that once you thaw it, all the hard work is done, and you only need to reheat it.
Mashed butternut squash can either be savory or very sweet. Prepare it as you normally would, by removing the stems, skin, and seeds.
Dice the flesh into bite sized pieces, and cook in water until tender. Drain the water, put the squash into a large bowl, and season how you wish.
Then you can mash the squash. Once it’s smooth, divide it into freezable containers into portions. Label, and freeze.
It will keep up to a year before it degrades, but it’s recommended using it earlier to preserve its flavor and texture.
When you want to use it, take it out of the freezer, put the frozen squash into a saucepan and let it defrost over a very low heat, stirring occasionally.
You can also do this in the microwave, but it will alter the consistency, and make it drier.
How To Freeze Halved Butternut Squash
If you’re not sure what you want to do with the squash once it has thawed, or if you’ve used half, and you don’t know what to do with the rest, this is a good way of freezing it.
Cut the squash in half, get rid of the seeds, and put both halves into a resealable freezer bag.
In this form, the squash will keep for up to 2 years, but using it before this will ensure the flavor and texture of the squash are similar to its fresh counterpart.
To cook frozen halves of butternut squash, the simplest way is to put them in the oven at 400°F to roast for an hour until tender.
Season as necessary before putting in the oven, or even stuff the squashes with rice, nuts or dried fruit to make it go further. Butternut Squash also makes a great addition to risotto (see also Can You Freeze Risotto).
Why Shouldn’t You Defrost Squash Before You Cook It?
Unlike most foods, butternut squash cooks much better from frozen than if you defrost it first.
If you were to sit it out on the counter or in the fridge and let it defrost, this would result in pale or slimy squash, and no one wants that.
As soon as you remove the squash from the freezer, cook it straight away. This will preserve the flavor, texture, and color as much as possible.
You’ll hardly notice a difference between the now-thawed, cooked squash and its fresh, cooked version.
If you let frozen squash sit in the freezer for 2 years or longer, the quality of the squash will degrade, and the texture and flavor will suffer significantly.
Always make sure to label things before you freeze them, and check the freezer every few weeks to make sure you use anything before it starts to degrade.
With several ways to freeze butternut squash, helping to prolong the shelf life for up to 2 years, there really is no reason why you shouldn’t freeze it.
For best results, buy butternut squash when it’s in season and at its best, so you’ll be able to enjoy it any time of year, whenever you want.
This will also ensure that the squash will have optimal flavor and freshness when you come to use it, as long as you freeze it properly, and use it within a few months of freezing.