Thursday, October 28, 2010

Squishing the Squash

I finished processing the last of the squash for the freezer today. Yes, I did. The last of it. I'm sure. I am real tired of processing squash.

Cut the squash in half and clean out all the pulp and seeds.

Into a pan, cut side down, and add about an inch of hot water to pan. Then into a 375 degree oven for 60-90 minutes, until the squash flesh is very tender. ( I can fit four pans in my oven at once.)

I let them cool a little before scooping the cooked squash out with a spoon. (They sure do get hot sitting in that oven.)

It all goes into a bowl. At this point, the squash looks pretty lumpy, bumpy, and chunky. Since I plan on using this squash I'm freezing as a substitute for a purchased can of pumpkin, it needs to be pureed so that it's smooth.

I don't know the technical name for this food strainer so we'll call it a food strainer. The squash chunks and lumps get pushed through and caught in another bowl.

After straining it goes into freezer bags in two cup amounts. I freeze the bags flat so they stack compactly in the freezer.

My method probably isn't the most efficient or best way but it did the job for me.

Addendum: For my very last bowlful of squash, instead of using the food strainer, I beat the DIV-el (as my Scottish grandma used to say) out of it with my hand mixer. That seemed to be almost a little easier than using the food strainer. A lot easier to clean up, too!


@JDHealingTimeOnEarth said...

So glad to see someone else using an "old time" food strainer/puree-er.

I use one for processing tomatoes and love it. It's all very hands-on and thoughtful.

Hope you feel accomplished after all that squash is done! Good for you!

beth said...

Those food strainers are the best. looks like you had a productive day!

Mama Pea said...

Clare - Welcome and thanks for commenting!

My food strainer was my mother's-in-law and I wish I knew just how old it is. I'm betting it has to be at least 75 years old!

Three cheers for food put by, I say! Such a good feeling.

Mama Pea said...

Beth - I did! I also sorted through all the apples we picked from our trees. We had just gathered good looking ones from the ground and picked the trees bare and put them all together in boxes so I knew I'd better cull out the really bad ones. I was amazed at the few that I had to feed to the poultry and I have only a couple of dozen that I'll use for apple desserts soon. All the rest look like they'll be good keepers.

Erin said...

Mama Pea, that's called a "chinois" set! Not sure if you remember that I wanted my great-grandmothers and my mom wouldn't let me have it LOL? - Well she called about a month ago and asked if she wanted me to mail it or just get it at Christmas - YAY!!!! Apparently now I'm worthy of it at age 40! I think I actually will leave it there after showing it to hubby until we move back, now I'm feeling guilty because it's never seen anything but Minnesota tomatoes since probably 1910! I would hate to muck it up by putting my lowly VA produce through it hahahaha!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

WooHoo! Doesn't if feel great being out from under you? How many bags did you end up with and when is pie night? I'll be there!

And I must be one lazy girl...I used my food processor! Never occured to me to even put it thru the food mill or chinois.

I could use a phonics lesson for that word I think.

Erin, yipee! You are finally worthy even if your tomatoes aren't!

Kaytee said...

My parents have one of those strainers! I used it this summer to make grape jam because I forgot my "modern" food mill. I thought it was pretty neat and worked really well!

Erin said...

Phonics Lesson: chinois, pronounce "shin-wah"
now all y'all done been educated! :)

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Yeah, so not what I would have said!

Remember, I am from IllinOIS. IllinWAH would just sound plain wrong. Hahaha!

Thanks for learnin' me up!

becky3086 said...

I hope you roasted your squash seeds. They are every bit as good as roasted pumpkin seeds. I seldom freeze squash, especially winter squash since they pretty much store themselves but have been known to can them if I ran out of room to store the actual squash.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I am with Becky. I love squash seeds with olive oil and salt. Yum

Susan said...

You processed that WHOLE wheelbarrow full of squash? No wonder you're tired of it! Of course, it will be lovely to pull out a package of frozen sunshine in the depths of winter. I have everything but the chinois stand - and I'm too *frugal* to buy one. I just keep checking yard sales.

Mama Pea said...

Erin - Uh, did we have a conversation abut the chinois before? Oh, drat. Just proves to show that my brain cells are deteriorating at a rapid rate. Sorry.

APG - Naw, I didn't do them all. But I've never had much luck finding just the right conditions to put squash in for long term storage so I wanted to get some of them frozen before they started to "go" on me. I've given quite a few away, am still saving some in their natural state (with fingers crossed) and have fifteen 2 cup packages in the freezer which would equal 15 cans of pumpkin which is more than I use in a year anyway!

Kaytee - Sometimes it's the simple tools that do the best job, I think anyway.

Mama Pea said...

Becky - So how and where do you store your winter squash? I need help here!

Jane - I didn't save any seeds from this bunch of processing but I may just do that with the ones I use one at a time that are in storage.

Susan - I wouldn't be surprised if you couldn't find one at a rummage/garage/auction sale. Most people probably wouldn't even know what it was!