Using Canned Winter Squash

Buttercup Squash Bread

Buttercup Squash Bread

Using canned winter squash you processed the past two years isn’t that hard. Is it just sitting in the cupboard except for the occasional brown sugar and butter side dish? There are many ways to incorporate that valuable canned produce into your weekly menus. Every year I harvest an abundant amount of winter squash. The varieties I plant are Butternut, Buttercup and Hopi Pale Grey. Next gardening season I am planning on adding some others. I normally only plant one variety each year since they can become cross pollinated and their seed won’t be true. I try to save their seeds every year. You can still use them even if they aren’t true, but they sometimes don’t look like what you planted. I canned a lot of yellow squash one year that took over our compost pile, but it certainly wasn’t a true yellow squash. We ate it and there was no difference in the taste or anything. I suppose it only matters if you are sharing or selling your seeds, which I wasn’t.

Winter Squash

Winter Squash

Every year the squash plants spread out all over our lawn near the garden where it is planted. It can be a nuisance for my husband mowing the lawn, but he’d rather have the food than the lawn anyway. I usually put aside a small number of them to store in the pantry or root cellar to eat fresh, most of them will be canned for future meals. A good friend asked me, “Why bother canning them since they store so well from one season to the next?” My answer to that is, “They last longer canned and stored on my pantry shelves. Since there are only two of us here, we don’t eat it fast enough to store all of them fresh.” One thought I had was that it is less work too. I can decide at the last minute to prepare a winter squash recipe without the job of precooking it to use, as most of my recipes would be using it as a soft or pureed ingredient. 

Buttercup

Buttercup

I had such a large crop in previous years, that this year I didn’t plant any winter squash at all. We are still eating the ones I canned in 2013! This is a post I wrote about how I canned our winter squash, Buttercup Squash. After it is on my shelves in jars, how do I use it? Almost any recipe for pumpkin or sweet potatoes is adaptable for your winter squash. Fresh or canned or even frozen, it doesn’t matter. Pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread recipes made with winter squash taste pretty much the same. Amazon is full of good pumpkin cookbooks that can be used for your winter squash or sweet potatoes. This one, Pumpkin, a Super Food For All 12 Months of the Year is a good one, as well as Pumpkin Cookbook by Gooseberry Patch.

Bread in Oven

Bread in Oven

 

This is my favorite pumpkin recipe, which is a Pumpkin Bread one, but tastes like a dessert. We love it! Try it and see what you think. If the winter squash is canned, it should be canned in cubes because it is not safe to can it as mashed or pureed. I pour the whole jar in, water and all, using it as part of the liquid for the recipe. I mash the squash up good with a potato masher to break it up as much as possible.

Pumpkin Bread

3/4 cup shortening
2-3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin, canned
3/4 cup water
3-1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix together sugar and shortening. Add rest of ingredients. Pour into two greased bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Makes two loaves.

Homecanned Buttercup

Home Canned Buttercup Squash

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Buttercup Squash

Ripe Buttercup Squash

Ripe Buttercup Squash

Buttercup squash is one of my favorite varieties of winter squash. This year we had a nice crop of it growing in the garden. The seeds I plant are an heirloom variety of Buttercup squash. The squash was still growing when the plant itself looked to be dead. I left it in the garden as long as I could, until we had some frost and I had to harvest it. Then I left it to cure on the front porch for a week or so. If you have a brown, dried up looking stem, then it usually means that the squash is ready to be picked. I know some of the information I read says to leave it in the garden even if you have frost, but I don’t trust doing that. I’d hate to lose it.

Picked Buttercup Squash

Picked Buttercup Squash

The buttercup squash didn’t look real big, at least not compared to my Hopi Pale Gray Squash and Butternut, but it gave me sixteen quarts. I am quite happy with that. If you can your winter squash and pumpkins, you have to can them cut up in cubes. Don’t puree it, as that is not safe for canning. I have been canning all my winter squashes for a long time now. I know it good to store them fresh in a root cellar or wherever you have space, but I like to can them so we can eat them over a longer period of time. We don’t have to hurry up to eat them before they go bad. Because they never go bad!

Paring Buttercup Squash

Paring Buttercup Squash

I cut the buttercup squash in half, then scoop out the seeds. I was able to peel the skin off with a peeler. The other squashes, Butternut and Hopi Pale Gray,  I couldn’t do that with, because their skins were too tough. Then I cubed them up and put it in a stock pot with enough water to cover them. Jackie Clay’s canning book has the instructions I used. She said to boil them for 2 minutes, then follow the directions for canning them.

Buttercup Seeds

Buttercup Seeds

 I spread the seeds out on a paper towel lined tray to dry out, after removing the strings of squash from the seeds. The buttercup squash seeds will dry out over a period of days and then I can put them away to use in my future gardens. Don’t put them in an oven or on another heat source. I dry them in the open air of my house. Keep them dry, labeled and separate from all other seeds. 

Canned Buttercup Squash

Canned Buttercup Squash

After canning the buttercup squash you will have a supply all ready to eat. Just heat it up or use it in a recipe. Winter squashes can be substituted for pumpkin or sweet potatoes. We love it! How about you? Did you plant any buttercup squash in your garden this year?

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole