Four sugar baby pumpkins that I’d kept for myself, and three pink banana squash, were all in need of preservation. They were not keeping well due to the warmth of our hot San Diego county Fall. During a rainy break in the weather I did something about it. You can preserve cooked pumpkin and winter squash best by freezing it. If you have a pressure canner you may can pureed pumpkin or pumpkin pieces in liquid, but since I only use the water bath method that wasn’t an option.
Roasting a squash isn’t difficult at all. In fact, you only have to wash it, put it on a tray in a 350F oven for about an hour (longer if its a really large pumpkin), and then slice when cooled.
Its easy to scrape out the seeds and then spoon out the cooked flesh out of the hardened shell. This is what I did for the sugar baby pumpkins. There was too much banana squash to fit whole into the oven, however, so I cut them into chunks, scooped out the seeds, covered them with aluminum foil (it helps steam them) and baked 350F for forty-five minutes.
Then I had a lot of squash to puree! These squash and pumpkins were dry, so I added a little water to the VitaMix and tossed in the chunks.
I pureed batches until smooth, then spooned cups full into freezer bags. My pumpkin scone recipe calls for only half a cup, so I froze one-cup batches, as well as two-cup batches for pie. The secret to ‘vacuum-packing’ freezer bags is to close the top of the bag around a straw and then suck all the air out. It really works well, and is kind of fun, too.
However, the best thing that happened out of all this squashing was that I had a little less than a cup of pureed roasted squash left in the VitaMix, too little to freeze and really irritating to scoop out. It was a cold day and past lunchtime. I had an idea and spooned in what was left of some Chai tea mix, poured in vanilla soy milk, blended it until it warmed up and sat down to drink. Heaven! I’m not one for pumpkin flavored things, but this was the real deal.
It was so good that the next day I took a cup of the pureed squash that I refrigerated, poured in 1 1/2 cups of vanilla soy milk, a touch of orange syrup left over from candying orange peel, added cinnamon and blended until it was hot. It was thick, satisfying, a little sweet, spicy and full of beta carotene, fiber, protein and other good things. I’m sure you can do the same thing with canned pumpkin and other liquids, such as milk, rice milk, almond milk or coconut milk. If fact, I insist that you try it.
- 1 cup cooked pumpkin or squash puree, fresh or canned.
- 1½ - 2 cups vanilla soy milk, or milk of your choice. (Less for a thick drink).
- ½ - ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or up to 1 scoop Chai tea mix.
- Sweetener (optional); a natural syrup would do or honey.
- ½ teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- For cold pumpkin chai mix all ingredients briefly in a blender or VitaMix.
- Taste to adjust seasonings, thickness and sweetener, and serve.
- For hot pumpkin chai, heat milk and add to the rest of the ingredients in a blender and process. If you have a VitaMix, you can add all cold ingredients and then process until it is hot.
I’m going to make some more for me right now.