Alright friends, today, I have an easy guide to preserve blue hubbard squash for you. I’ll go into several different options to prepare the squash for preserving and then delve into how to pressure can or freeze squash.
Please note that this process is the same process you will use for all winter squash (hard fleshy exterior) and pumpkins.
Also, this reminds me of the time I decided to pressure can pumpkins in the RV. This all came about when we had only been in the RV for a few months as full-timers with our family of 6. Not one of my better ideas. I still remember how hot it was in there! It was miserable. Let me tell you that this year’s canning experience was way more enjoyable!
Squash a Substitute for Pumpkin?
If you’ve ever had to contend with a blue hubbard squash, you know they are NO joke! For real. They are ginormous!
If you share this sentiment, hopefully, this post changes your life…
A few years ago, I bought a cookbook, BraveTart, which includes the history and recipes of many iconic American foods and desserts. I can pretty much geek out on this kind of info. I remember reading my new cookbook like a novel. Yup.
On page 164, the author (Stella Parks) goes into the history of the pumpkin pie.
For those of you that do not know, pumpkin is native to North America. Pumpkins are notoriously bland and the puree they were used as a replacement for fresh milk in custard pies. Squash became a favorite substitute for pumpkin because squash generally has more meat, is naturally sweeter, and produces a smoother and creamier puree. Here is a quick excerpt from the book that is so funny to me…
“Squash had every advantage over pumpkin but the name, and in 1881 , Arthur’s Home Magazine laid out the details for an all-out bait and switch: ‘Squash is preferable to pumpkin and should always be used instead…but call it pumpkin pie – that sounds better.’ “
“American novelist, cookbook author, and poet Emily Leland wrote in 1890, ‘When I want to make the richest, creamiest, and altogether loveliest pumpkin pies, I use squash. But as squash pies are never celebrated in rhyme…I permit them to be called Pumpkin.’ “
What is also shocking to me is that in 1938, the FDA removed any legal distinction between squash and pumpkin.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down???
Guys! Mind-blowing. lol! (I’m not really kidding)
Canned pumpkin IS squash, people!
I’m going to leave this gorgeous little chronicle /cookbook behind, but I highly recommend BraveTart as it is chocked full of this kind of info.
You may be wondering what to do with a big Blue Hubbard Squash?? Well based on this info above, I highly recommend you do anything with a Blue Hubbard squash that you would do with a pumpkin! For some squash/pumpkin ideas, you can check out my pumpkin cauliflower soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, and pumpkin pancakes.
How to Freeze Blue Hubbard Squash
Note: As with all winter squash (including pumpkin) the skin is super tough and harder to cut into. It can be done, just be careful.
Options to cook your squash for freezing…
When you are freezing squash, it is hard to overcook it since you want a nice puree. The biggest thing to keep in mind when cooking squash is that it needs to be cooked enough so it will be a smooth puree.
- Roast Whole in Oven. Pierce whole squash with a knife several times before baking so it does not explode. Set on a baking tray with water to help soften the skin of the squash. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Pierce with a fork at 45 minutes to check and ensure the squash is cooked through. Remove from oven, let cool and scoop out the flesh of the squash.
- Roast Halved in Oven. Cut squash in half, scrape out seeds, and place it face down on a sheet pan. Pour about an inch of water into the pan. Pierce squash with a knife so air can escape. Bake in a 400-degree oven for around 20 minutes or until a fork pierced in flesh is soft and flesh is cooked. Remove from oven, let cool and scoop out the flesh of the squash.
- Slow Cooker. Cut squash in half, scrape out seeds, and cut the squash into large chunks. Place chunks into a slow cooker add about 1/2 to 1 cup of water (depending on the size of squash). Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. Remove chunks of squash from the slow cooker and let cool slightly. When cool enough, scoop out the flesh of the squash.
- Instant Pot. Cut up your squash into large chunks and scrape out the seeds. Place the trivet in the bottom of the pressure cooker and lay your squash chunks on top. Add 1 cup of water to your pot and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Fast-release pressure when done cooking. Remove lid, let squash cool slightly and scoop out the flesh of the squash.
- Portion squash out to amounts you need for making your favorite squash or pumpkin recipes. Some options for freezing portions are cupcake liners, mini-loaf pans, or simply proportioned into freezer zip lock bags.
- Label your contents with date and measurement.
- Freeze. Squash will last 12 to 18 months in the freezer.
How to Can Blue Hubbard Squash
Note: As with all winter squash (including pumpkin) the skin is super tough and harder to cut into chunks. Just a word of warning, be careful.
For safe food handling, do not overcook your squash and turn it into a puree when removing it from the skin and processing. Hot squash should be cut up into chunks for canning.
Suggestions to cook your squash for canning…
- Cut Up and Boil. This is my favorite way to prepare squash because you have the most control. Cut up your squash into large chunks and scrape out the seeds. Place squash chunks in a pot of warm water. Bring to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes until the squash is heated through but not soft or mushy. Using a paring knife, remove the skin of squash from chunks. Chop squash into 1-inch size chunks
- Instant Pot. Cut up your squash into large chunks and scrape out the seeds. Place the trivet in the bottom of the pressure cooker and lay your squash chunks on top. Add 1 cup of water to your pot and cook on high pressure for 1 minute. Fast-release pressure when done cooking. Carefully remove flesh from the skin and chop into 1-inch size chunks.
Move quickly to canning your blue hubbard squash.
How to Pressure Can Blue Hubbard Squash
- Prepare pressure canner and jars for canning.
- Pack hot chunks of squash inside of jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
- Pour boiling water into jars.
- Use a skewer, slide, or poke a stick into jars to remove any trapped bubbles. Add any more water necessary to maintain a 1-inch headspace.
- Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth. Place the lid on the jar and crew band onto finger-tight.
- Process in a pressure canner for 90 minutes for quart-size jars and 55 minutes for pint-size jars.
- Turn off heat. Do NOT release pressure from the canner. Instead, let the canner release pressure naturally and come to room temperature before opening the pressure canner lid, for at least 12 hours.
- Remove canner lids. Remove jar rings, wipe down the jars of residue, label, and store.
That’s all folks! This process will really work for all pumpkin and winter squash.
So tell me, do you make squash pie but call it a pumpkin pie? And do you have a favorite winter squash for “pumpkin” pie?