Pumpkins and Squash- Processing Ideas

I had 3 squash and 2 pumpkins on my counter this week. It was time to eat them or process them for later. I decided to process them, make pumpkin chili and then freeze the remainder. Here are tips from Pattie and I as we have different paths to make delicious pulp.

Pattie’s Tips
Keep the squash and pumpkins in a cold area that is not in the sun. This will allow them to store for a longer period of time. Pattie uses a pressure cooker to process the squash and pumpkins.

  1. First she cuts open the pumpkins and removes the seeds.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into smaller wedges
  3. Remove the strings with a small paring knife
  4. Place the pumpkin in the pressure cooker.  Specific cooking time depends on different pressure cookers but they are all probably fairly similar. My pressure cooker requires HIGH pressure for both pumpkin and squash.  Pumpkin in 2″ chunks cooks for 3-4 minutes. Butternut squash, 1″ chunks cooks for 4 minutes.
  5. When completed, let it cool.  Scrape the pumpkin or squash off the skin and mash with a potato masher.  This makes a heavy consistency that is perfect for pumpkin bread or pie.  See the recipes on the pumpkin page.

Amy’s Tips

I prefer to roast the pumpkin and squash.  I was able to fit the 3 squash and 2 pumpkins in my oven in one day to process them.

  1. I wash all of the squash and pumpkins
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  3. A baking or cookie sheet should fit 3 squash.  I use pizza pans for the pumpkins because I don’t have a large set of baking sheets.  I don’t grease because I place oil on each piece of squash.
  4. Cut the butternut squash in half.  If they are large, I cut the top off to make cutting easier.  The pumpkin is cut in half to remove the seeds, then I cut into four or eight pieces depending on the size of the pumpkin.
  5. I place olive oil in a smaller bottle so that there is a tip.  This helps to pour a small amount on each piece and not use too much oil.  I also place salt and freshly ground pepper on each piece.  I find that it seasons the squash and pumpkins even for a sweet recipe.
  6. The pumpkins roast for 40 minutes or until the skin turns brown.  The skin is a good sign that the pumpkin is fully roasted and will pull away from the skin easily.
  7. Squash will take an hour and the skin should turn brown as well.
  8. Let them cool and then peel the skin off.  It should come off easily.
  9. You could use the pulp at this point, but I take it through one more process to make it smooth.
  10. I place the squash in a pot and add water or chicken stock.  You could also add a few tablespoons of butter to make a creamy pulp.  Let the mixture come to a simmer and it will begin to dissolve into the pulp.  The pumpkin will take longer on the stove to make a pulp.
  11. Let it cool and then strain.  I use a plan strainer that I bought at Target and a stainless steel mixing bowl.  I have a spatula to push the mixture into the strainer.  It takes some time to complete this part, but the results are amazing.  I use the pulp for soups or desserts.
  12. I freeze the pulp in Ziplock bags or containers.  This is helpful to use the squash over time.

Good luck with your pumpkins and squash.  Processing them takes a little time, but you can use them more quickly for main dishes or desserts.

Amy Hetager, CSA blogger

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