Can you keep an omelette, an avocado, some tomatoes, or a plate of paella in the freezer? Sometimes it is difficult to know which foods can lose properties when subjected to low temperatures. In the following article, we learn if it is possible to freeze the pumpkin and how to do it to preserve its qualities to the maximum.
The value of frozen vegetables depends, to a large extent, on a choice of quality raw materials. And also to follow the proper steps to prepare, handle, and preserve food safely.
Why freeze pumpkin?
This winter vegetable keeps quite well if it is kept intact and in good condition. It needs to be stored in a cool, dry place and protected from intense heat and cold. So it can last about 6 months. However, in some situations, it is preferable to freeze it.
It is always advisable to do it when food is about to spoil to avoid throwing it away, also in the case of pumpkin. Most specimens are usually quite large, so it is easy to always end up with a piece of leftover.
If frozen cut, you can have the necessary for each recipe without using the whole piece at one time. All those true fans of pumpkin may find it interesting to freeze a quantity before its season ends.
How to freeze pumpkin
To make good freezing of any food, it is recommended to do it without water or air. In this way, the properties are kept intact, and they do not remain watery or suffer from oxidation. For this, it is important to use the correct containers and with hermetic closure.
It is also advisable not to keep it all together in a single package and not whole. It is best to separate it into individual servings or small amounts. When it comes to using it again, only the required quantities are taken out. It is important to consider this because once it has been defrosted, it has to be consumed and cannot be frozen again.
It is convenient to mark the date on the container to keep track of the useful life periods. Preserved in good condition, in the freezer, it lasts up to 2 months without losing properties. The appearance of burns on the surface of the product is also avoided.
There are two basic ways to freeze squash. It can be done raw or once it is cooked. Choosing one or the other depends on the objective and the use that you want to give it in the kitchen. Both are similar, and we will detail them below.
Using this preservation method without subjecting the food to any previous cooking is very useful when the dish to be prepared has not been decided. Also, when you have a large quantity, you want to use it in different preparations.
These are the necessary steps to carry it out:
- Before freezing raw pumpkin, you need to peel it and wash it well.
- Once clean, it is cut into 2 or 3 cm cubes. We put it in a special freezer bag or other suitable containers. As pointed out by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a good container prevents moisture loss.
- A trick to make it looser is to place the pumpkin cubes on a tray and cover plastic wrap. It is put in the freezer for a couple of hours, and after this time, it is stored in bags or glass containers. In this way, the pieces do not stick together, and only the necessary pieces can be taken at a time.
Freezing boiled, fried, or baked squash
At other times, it is interesting to cook the pumpkin first before freezing it. Especially if the problem is lack of time and the need to organize weekly menus, in this case, if it is made boiled, fried, or baked, it can also be stored later in the freezer.
- To roast it, you need to peel and wash before anything else. It is cut into 2-3 centimeter cubes or sliced. The cuts are similar to those of pineapple or watermelon, depending on the shape of the pumpkin.
- A baking tray is lined with greaseproof paper. The pieces are placed on top and sprinkled with salt and oil. It is cooked at 160ºC until soft.
- Once cooked, let it cool and freeze just like a raw pumpkin.
- All this process is used for cooking it boiled, baked, or fried and the procedure to freeze it.
How do you use frozen pumpkin in cooking?
Once the steps to follow to freeze the pumpkin have been established, it is time to know how it can be used when it is time to eat it. Knowing how to defrost correctly is basic, as it also depends on whether it is kept in perfect condition, with texture and flavor.
Raw pumpkin is thawed in the refrigerator. It can be done with all that is preserved or a small amount. Remember that if it is frozen cut into cubes, it is easier to separate it. From here, it can already be used to boil, sauté or puree. Pumpkin is a very interesting and nutritious ingredient with great potential in the kitchen.
The same procedure is followed with boiled, roasted, or fried pumpkin. When you want to consume it, it is placed in the refrigerator and allowed to defrost completely. In this way, you are ready to eat. However, it is advisable to season with herbs or spices and season again with a drizzle of olive oil.
Some of the most basic preparations are the following:
- Crushed alone or with other ingredients (onion, leeks) to prepare a cream or vegetable puree.
- Served as an accompaniment to a second meat or fish dish.
- As one more component of salads, along with potatoes, beans, peas, or cauliflower.
- Sautéed with rice or quinoa.
Keeping food frozen is a very practical option. In this way, the useful life of those perishable products is extended, waste is avoided, and it is an opportunity to save time in the kitchen.
Pumpkin, either raw or cooked, can also be frozen. Although it can be made whole (once peeled), it is recommended with smaller portions to have the necessary quantities ready. If it is frozen cooked, it is important to remove excess water and let it cool.
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It is essential for food safety reasons to defrost it in the fridge and never at room temperature. The raw pumpkin can now be used for the chosen recipe, and the one that has been cooked is ready to be seasoned and tasted.