Homemade Squash Puree
Yields: varies Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 1 hour
An easy way to prep squash puree for future use in savory or sweet goods, replacing undesirable fat, sugar or carbohydrates with extra nutrients such as fiber and vitamins A, C and E.
Butternut squash, halved
Acorn squash, halved
Pie pumpkin, halved (pie pumpkins are the small pumpkins used for baking)
2 teaspoons olive oil (1 per squash)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Wash the outside of the squash with soap and wash. Dry thoroughly.
3. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. (You can discard the seeds, or throw into a compost pile. In all sincerity, this is how we grew some rogue squash one year!)
4. Coat the inside and outside with just a bit of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon per squash). Place squash face down on a silicone or parchment paper lined baking pan. *(see note below)
5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, until squash is cooked through.
6. Remove from oven a let cool slightly.
7. Place squash (can separate by type or just blend all together) in a food processor and puree.
8. Remove squash and place in a freezer safe container. I used a Ziploc bag (despite my preference to avoid plastic). It is helpful to measure out one cup increments for easy use.
*One note I wanted to mention is with regard to produce waxes often present on squash, organic or not. When heated in the oven, the wax melted, and can get into the flesh of the squash. If after washing with soap and water, you suspect your squash still has a waxy residue and you are concerned about it soaking into the flesh when baking, simply bake the squash inside up. The wax on the outside will then drip off when baking.
It is preferred to bake the squash with the flesh side down, as a natural dome is created, keeping in moisture. However, if wax is a concern, this is an easy remedy. The oil rubbed on the flesh prior to baking will help keep the squash from drying out.
Making these purees ahead of time is a wonderful tool, especially to add not only flavor, but extra nutrition to a variety of dishes. To use, I take out a bag of puree a day ahead of time and let it thaw in the fridge. Then, it’s ready to put right into a savory recipe such as a Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (no need to use frozen squash!) and Cheese or a sweet breakfast such as Butternut Squash Waffles or the Roasted Pumpkin Scones below!
And this isn’t all about sneaking healthy food in for kids. It’s about adding nutritious ingredients, replacing empty calories. Squash is filled with beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber – just to name a few. I’m also aware of my health, and personally, I don’t want to fill up on empty calories, preferring to get these nutrients instead of unnecessary fat, sugar or simple carbohydrates.