Tidbit Thursday – Putting Up Squash

This time of year, a lot of the summer fresh fruits are winding down.  Now coming into their own are all the storing vegetables.  Carrots, potatoes, turnips, and squash, to name a few.  In our current home, we are fortunate enough to have a cold cellar.   Some vegetables, though, like squash, can be made into an idiot proof side dish with very little prep work.  Here’s how:

Start out with your largest rimmed cookie sheet, covered in heavy foil.  We pick up our squash from Gram and Papa’s garden, so we need to give them a good rinse before getting to this step.  Take off as much stem as possible, to prevent burning in the oven.  See that guy on the right, down in front?  He needs a good chop.  The guy on the left?  He’s good to go.

Pop it in the oven, at 350 F, for a long time.  At least an hour, up to two, depending on the size of the squash.  They are fully cooked once you can easily insert a sharp knife into the largest squash.  Then, let it sit.  Again, for quite a while.  These little puppies will hold the heat for a considerable amount of time.

Split the cooled squash open with a large spoon.  It will look something like this.

Then, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.  Plop them right back onto the foil for easy clean up.

Then scoop the good part into a large bowl.  You could place it directly into freezer bags, but the consistency of squash varies greatly.  I like to mix all mine together to get a more predictable result.  This year, with the lack of rain, they are all pretty dry like this, so it’s not nearly as much of a concern.

When you are done, you will have a pile of scraps, something like this.  Simply fold up the foil and away it goes.  If you are the composting type, you are good to go.  If not, life is pretty simple there, too.

Last but not least, pop it into resealable bags, in volumes that work for your family, and away you go.  Then, this winter, when you need a quick vegetable, it’s right there waiting.  Simply season, heat, and serve.  No fuss, no mess, no wait time.  By the way, did you know this also makes a great pumpkin pie filling base?  True stuff.  In fact, a lot of the pumpkin pie filling you buy is really squash.  Once they are seasoned up, you absolutely cannot tell the difference.

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