Pumpkin (in some of its variations) can be frozen in raw cubes, roasted cubes or pureed. The raw method is the fastest, but the pieces usually need to be thawed well before use. Baked pieces are best if you want to save time when preparing it, and freezing it to a puree is, finally, the best way to use it in breads, as baby food or in recipes that indicate the use of pumpkin in this way.. You can use any of these methods, as per your preference and need.
Method 1 of 3: Freezing Raw Pumpkin
Step 1. Prepare the Pumpkin
Peel and then cut the pumpkin into pieces, according to your preference.
- Cut the pumpkin in half and then remove both ends. The pumpkin should be cut so that it stands upright.
- Use a sharp knife to remove the husk.
- Cut the pumpkin into cubes. Normally 2.5 cm cubes are ideal, but you can cut them into larger or smaller pieces as desired.
- Remove the seeds and fibrous inner pulp when cutting into cubes.
Step 2. Spread cubes into a shape and freeze
Place parchment/butter paper over the pan and spread out the cubes. Freeze for several hours, until completely solid.
Spread the pieces into a single layer without touching each other. If the pieces stick together during freezing, they will remain that way, making use difficult
Step 3. Transfer them to a freezer-resistant container
After freezing the pieces completely, place them in a suitable plastic container.
- Leave approximately 1.25 cm of empty space at the top of the container. As food freezes, it tends to expand. This space will allow the cubes to accommodate.
- Avoid using glass containers as they break more easily in the freezer.
- If desired, use sealable, freezer-resistant plastic bags.
- Note the freeze date for future reference.
Step 4. Freeze
Place container in freezer and freeze. You can use the pumpkin for 6 to 12 months, or until it starts to show signs of spoiling or burning due to the temperature.
Pumpkin frozen in pieces can be used directly from the freezer, but you can also thaw it first to reduce cooking time
Method 2 of 3: Freezing the Baked Pumpkin
Step 1. Preheat oven to 205 °C
Use a deep pan, at least twice as tall as the pumpkin being roasted.
If your shape doesn't have room for the two halves of the pumpkin, use two separate shapes
Step 2. Cut the pumpkin in half, vertically
With a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half, top to bottom.
Remove the seeds and the inner fibrous hoopoe with an ordinary metal or ice cream scoop
Step 3. Place the halves in the pan and add water
Position the halves with the cut side facing down. Add approximately 1.25 cm of water to the dish.
Step 4. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes
Bake only until the pumpkin starts to soften.
Remove from oven and let cool for 30 or 60 minutes, or until cool enough to touch
Step 5. Peel and cut the pumpkins into cubes
Remove the pumpkin skin with your hands and use a knife to make 2.5 cm cubes.
If you have difficulty removing the skin with your hands, use a knife
Step 6. Freeze cubes in a shape
Place the cubes already baked in a tin covered with parchment/vegetable paper. Freeze for an hour or two, or until solid.
The cubes must be arranged in a single layer and not touching, otherwise they will stick together after freezing, making it difficult to use
Step 7. Transfer cubes to a freezer-resistant container
When they have solidified, place them in a container or plastic bag suitable for freezer use.
- Avoid using glass containers, which can break in the freezer. Leave a space of 1.25 cm at the top of the container, as food tends to expand when frozen.
- Record the freezing date on the container for future reference.
Step 8. Freeze
Pumpkin can be kept frozen for 6 to 12 months in the freezer.
Pre-baked squash in cubes is generally easier to use directly from the freezer, without having to defrost, unlike raw squash
Method 3 of 3: Freezing as a puree
Step 1. Cut the pumpkin in half
With a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half vertically, top to bottom.
- Depending on the size of the container to be used, it may be necessary to redistribute the pumpkin. Cutting it into four parts also makes it easier to remove seeds.
- Remove seeds and save internally with a spoon. Use a common metal or ice cream scoop to remove the seeds and save the inner fibrous.
Step 2. Place the pumpkin in a microwave resistant container and add water
Place the pumpkin pieces in the container with the cut side facing down. Add approximately 5 cm of water to the container and cover it.
If you don't have a container big enough to hold all the pieces at once, cook them in batches. Alternatively, you can take the squash to the stove, in a pot of boiling water, for approximately twice as long as the microwave
Step 3. Cook in microwave on high power for 15 minutes or more
After 15 minutes, skewer the pumpkin with a fork. If it's soft and starting to fall apart, it's ready.
If the pumpkin is still not soft enough, return it to the microwave at additional intervals of three to five minutes and continue testing. The entire process can take up to 30 minutes
Step 4. Separate the cooked meat
With a large spoon, remove the cooked hoopoe from the pumpkin skin.
- If the squash is at the right cooking point, it should come off the skin easily.
- Allow the pumpkin to cool for a while before handling it to avoid burning. Another option is to work the pumpkin using a kitchen glove or dish towel.
Step 5. Make the puree
Place the pumpkin in a container and use a mixer to mash it until it reaches a smooth consistency.
You can also use a regular blender or even a fork to make the puree, however, the hand mixer is the quickest and most convenient option
Step 6. Pack the puree in a freezer-resistant container
Freeze for up to 12 months.
- Leave approximately 1.25 cm of empty space on top of the package, allowing the puree to expand when frozen.
- This method is especially useful when you already know that you will need to use the pumpkin in puree form.
- You can also use plastic bags or even ice cube trays with a lid or wrapped in a bag.
- Record the freezing date on the package for future reference.