How to Freeze Winter Squash

Enjoy sweet, creamy winter squash all year round by easily freezing your garden abundance! In this post, we’ll share step-by-step instructions for preserving the flavor, texture, and nutrients of your winter squash crop. Plus, get our tips for processing squash in bulk so you can make the most of your time in the kitchen.

Cooked Buttercup squash

As the winter chill arrives and the squash is picked, there’s a final sense that garden season is over. Squash is typically the last thing to come out of our garden. And once it does, it tends to take over our basement until we get around to processing it for the freezer. Squash is one of those amazing vegetables where just a few seeds will create a plants that yield SO much food. This year we had over 40 squash! Luckily, I have two little squash-loving monsters that will gladly gobble it up all winter long.

Buttercup squash harvest

What varieties of winter squash can you freeze?

Just about any variety of winter squash can be frozen! We grow Buttercup squash because it does extremely well in our area. Other common varieties that are great for the freezer are Butternut, Acorn, Carnival, or Delicata.

Should squash be frozen raw or cooked?

For squash with a thick, hard rind, we recommend cooking before freezing. Here’s why:

  1. Minimizes the number of times the hard exterior needs to be cut through, which requires extreme caution and care
  2. Helps preserve taste, texture, and color
  3. Saves a ton of time by allowing it to go directly from the freezer to your table
    (Hello, quick and delicious side dish!)
  4. Easily used in baked goods or other dishes in place of canned pumpkin puree

The method we provide in this post is steaming/roasting squash before freezing. Some varieties like Butternut or Acorn can be cubed and frozen raw, but we do not recommend freezing Buttercup squash raw.

How long does frozen squash last?

Cooked, mashed squash can be stored in the freezer for up to a year with minimal changes in quality as far as taste, texture, or nutrition. Beyond that, the squash will continue to be edible, but there is an increased chance of freezer burn and discoloration. After a the year mark, you also begin to look at an increased loss of nutrients.

Ready to stock your freezer with this rich, warming winter-favorite? Let’s get freezing!

Freezing buttercup squash

Tools You’ll Need

  • Roasting pan with lid (or aluminum foil)
  • Pint or quart-sized freezer bags

Directions

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 400º. Fill roasting pan with 2-3″ of water and place in the oven as it heats.

Step 2:
Wash squash well to remove any dirt or debris. Use a large, sharp knife to cut squash in half vertically.
(If squash is particularly difficult to cut, poke a few hole in it and microwave for 5 minutes to soften outer skin.)

Buttercup squash cut in half

Step 3:
Scoop the seeds out of each half with a spoon.
(Pssst… don’t throw away those squash seeds! Check out our post on how to roast squash seeds for an extra yummy snack.)

Scooping seeds out of winter squash

Step 4:
Place squash halves up in pan. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil.

Squash in roasting pan

Bake for 75-90 minutes until inside is soft throughout.

Cooked squash in roasting pan

Step 5:
Scoop out cooked squash with a spoon or ice cream scoop.

Scooping out cooked winter squash

Step 6:
Fill freezer bags with squash. Cuff the freezer bag over the edge of a large cup to make spooning into the bag mess-free.

Freezing winter squash

Flatten and remove air to maximize freezer space.

Freezing winter squash

To thaw squash for use, set it in the fridge overnight or place it in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes.

How to Freeze Winter Squash

Enjoy sweet, creamy winter squash all year round! Step-by-step instructions for preserving the flavor, texture, and nutrients of your winter squash crop.
Print Recipe

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400º. Fill roasting pan with 2-3″ of water and place in the oven as it heats.
  • Wash squash well to remove any dirt or debris. Use a large, sharp knife to cut squash in half vertically.
  • Scoop the seeds out of each half with a spoon.
  • Place squash halves up in pan. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil.
    Bake for 75-90 minutes until inside is soft throughout.
  • Scoop out cooked squash with a spoon or ice cream scoop.
  • Fill freezer bags with squash. Cuff the freezer bag over the edge of a large cup to make spooning into the bag mess-free.
    Flatten and remove air to maximize freezer space.

Notes

If squash is particularly difficult to cut, poke a few hole in it and microwave for 5 minutes to soften outer skin.
To thaw squash for use, set it in the fridge overnight or place it in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes.

Get ready to extend the shelf life of your bountiful harvest with this simple method for freezing winter squash! If you grew squash this year, we’d love to hear from you in the comments. Tell us what variety and how you chose to preserve it. We love to learn from our readers!

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