Fresh Pantry: Winter Squash

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Once it's cool enough to handle, slice the squash in half, remove its seeds and scoop out the tender flesh. Whether you leave it in shapeless chunks or cut it into cubes, cooked acorn squash can be refrigerated for up to three days in an air-tight container. So you finally decided to plant a vegetable garden, and acorn squash was your bumper crop of the year — after giving some away and finding creative ways to eat one or two a week, you still have more squash than you can consume in two months.

Look no further than your freezer for a solution. Properly prepared acorn squash can be stored in the freezer for up to a year without affecting its quality, according to Michigan State University. Squash should be cooked, allowed to cool and mashed or pureed before it's frozen in an air-tight, dated container.

Winter Squash and Apple Soup

Your squash will be ready to use after it spends a day or so thawing in the refrigerator. Like all fresh vegetables, damaged squash decays quickly. Always avoid specimens that have any kind of crack or dent. You should also steer clear of squash that have soft or glossy rinds — a soft rind generally indicates watery, flavorless flesh, while glossy rinds are a sign of immature, bitter flesh.

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Acorn squash is at its peak when it has a dull, deep green rind splashed with a bit of bright orange. Ours cure out on a wooden picnic table out in the middle of our backyard. We lost a few squash to curious chickens, but over all, it was a perfect spot for curing.

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How will you know when your squash is properly cured? The squash you pick up from the market or store might already be cured, so do the thumbnail test to check. Well, there are mold spores, bacteria, and other all-natural, but storage-killing critters on the rind. The quick wipe down kills a large chunk of them and really helps the squash keep longer. The traditional way to do this is to do the wipe down using a bleach solution much more diluted, think closer to to one , but I like the more natural option of using vinegar, and it seems to work just find and dandy.

Each of our beautiful cured squash then gets wrapped very loosely in newspaper. For some storage veggies, you want a humid environment, but for squash, humidity is bad news.

How to store produce so it stays fresh longer | Hello Homestead

The newspaper helps keep air circulating around the squash and absorbs some of the humidity in the air. Then the squash get packed into large, open boxes. You want the squash not to touch, and you want air to be able to move around. Inspect your squash every week or so.

Whole and Raw

Compost any squash that are rotting or collapsing. And then make sure to actually use your stored squash! I have a bad habit of working so hard to store my food, and then totally forgetting about it. Enjoy your harvest all winter long! Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Thanks for sharing your tips. I usually wash mine before curing them? So I stored them there for decor last year and they lasted until Mars. I love picking up a few extra butternut squash each week at the farm stand to store through the winter. I am going to try out the vinegar solution. Thank you so much! I feel confident now! Thank you for the information. I have a food pantry on the outside wall of the house. I will try this technique.

Butternut squash and black bean skillet

Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you really understand what you are speaking about! I use to store acorn squash in a basket for winter in the basement … no curing, or preping.

How to Cure and Store Winter Squash

If canning squash, be sure to do it in cubes and not pureed. Pumpkin and winter squash are low-acid foods. When canned, they are capable of supporting the growth of clostridium botulinum bacteria that can cause the very serious illness, botulism.

Because pureed squash is so thick, the center of the jar of food may not get to a high enough temperature and for long enough to kill the bacteria. Peeling and cutting a butternut squash can be a bit tricky due to its thick, smooth skin and hard flesh. Microwave the whole squash for 30 seconds to help with peeling. This will help to stabilize the squash on the cutting surface. Then cut in half and scoop out seeds. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. The Produce for Better Health Foundation offers these additional suggestions for enjoying butternut squash:. Hot or cold cubed and roasted butternut squash can be added to salads, pasta, rice, risotto or couscous. One of the quickest and easiest ways to prepare butternut squash is to bake it in the oven.

Simply cut the squash in half lengthwise, lightly brush with oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet.