Sunday, September 23, 2012

Preserving Acorn Squash

It's time for another dehydrating post from the 
Squash Queen of Robertsville!
Squash Queen?
Yes, for those of you who are unfamiliar with our summer garden,
we primarily harvested squash, and lots of it.
Not without the daily fighting of squash bugs -- all summer long.

I cut the tops off of the acorn squash plus a slice out of one side to level it up.
Then I sliced each one in half long ways.
You should use the green ones although you will see some yellow ones
on my cookie sheets.  These were too ripe but I decided to see how they would work.  
I won't bother next time.

You'll need a really sharp knife so use caution.
One tutorial advised using an electric knife if you have one.

Scoop out the inside and place it in a bowl if you want the seeds.
Lay the acorn squash skin side up on cookie sheets.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
You can put foil on top if you are worried about burning but I didn't have that problem.
I am fortunate enough to have dual ovens so I could put all four sheets in at the same time.

If you save seeds, wash and remove all pulp.
Cover the seeds with water and allow them to settle.
Some will float.  I have heard these are not the ones you want to save for planting.  Select the ones that sink instead.  Spread them onto newspaper for drying and store in a dark, cool place until you are certain they are dry.  Then you can move them into a storage container.

For the seeds that float- you can roast these like pumpkin seeds.
I use Worcestershire sauce when roasting seeds rather than salt. It gives the saltiness plus a little zing.

After baking, allow them to completely cool.
Remove the skin.  
I found that cutting them lengthwise into smaller slices allowed for easier peeling.
I started at the small end and ran my knife up to the large end.
This was not the butcher knife but a smaller, sharp one.

Since I sliced them, it was easier to then cut into cubes, around an inch or less
but not so small that they will disappear after drying.  I wanted to have some bulk. 
I layered them on the dehydrator sheets- my Excaliber has 12 trays with mesh screens, no need to spray, they removed easily.  I allowed them to dry at 125 degrees, overnight.  Check your dehydrator guide for the proper setting for your model.

Here we have the dried acorn squash, my seeds for roasting and a few uncooked squash for dinner!
I can cover the squash cubes with boiling water until rehydrated 
then use them for a variety of recipes.
Stews, mashed, baked, etc.
We are thinking about using a sweet potato recipe to see how that works.
 One of our favorite commercial seasonings is Uncle Wileys  

These are the seeds I am trying to save for next season.
I think I'll make a patch of three different squash types plus 
sprinkle some of the seeds around various areas further away from the house 
to see if they take off.  If they produce, great. 
Some of them might work for my bait garden,
maybe the squash bugs will congregate there instead of my main plot!



Kristi said...

Does the dried squash retain the beautiful golden color without Fruit Fresh or vitamin c treatment?

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I did not do any pre-treatment other than to cook it in the over like you normally do. The same with the spaghetti squash, no pretreatment at all.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I cooked these first but if you decided to dry them raw, you may have to pre-treat by blanching. I just don't know how you would easily get the skins off, they are rock hard.

Susie Swanson said...

I ove the acorn squash cooked and the seeds are soo good roasted.. You have been busy by the looks of it..

Anonymous said...

I have some acorn squash we grew this year, so I think I'll dehydrate it. Thanks for the idea!

Amanda @ Natural Living Mamma said...

This is a great idea! Thanks so much. Ill have to try this.

I would love it if you could share this on my new blog hop Natural Living Monday. I know my readers would too. Thanks!

Candy C. said...

Dual ovens?!? I'm soooo jealous!!
You are truly the Squash Queen and now the Queen of Preserving Squash too! :)

Unknown said...

This looks great - I'm going to need to try saving squash this year - we have so much! I am just starting a new homestead related link up, and would love you to join. If you get a moment, come by and check it out!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I did, thank you for the invitation.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

It is really handy when we cook a big meal for lots of people! The top is regular or convection, the bottom is a regular oven.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I did. Thank you.

~mel said...

I've never heard of dehydrating squash before ~ never too old to learn something new:)

Amanda @ Natural Living Mamma said...

Thanks so much for sharing!