Spaghetti squash is a popular replacement for regular wheat-based pasta. It is not only tasty but also low in calories and packed with healthy nutrients.
But, this vegetable spaghetti is time-consuming in terms of preparation. If you want to eat it more often but feel too lazy to repeat the prepping step, you might be thinking of cooking some squashes at once and preserving them. So, can I freeze spaghetti squash?
Sure, you can! This winter squash freezes beautifully and tastes as delicious as freshly prepared. Keep reading to find the easy way to freeze spaghetti squash for up to a year!
How To Freeze Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash belongs to the winter squash family, a close relative to butternut squash, pumpkin, and zucchini.
The raw vegetable doesn’t look anything like pasta noodles. Only after cooking, the flesh can be easily scraped into spaghetti-like ribbons, hence its name.
Freezing spaghetti squash is totally easy. It only takes a few more steps aside from the cooking process. Here is how to do it.
- 1. Select fresh, firm squash with hard rinds. It should feel heavy for its size. Don’t use one that feels hollow, has blemishes and soft spots.
- 2. Wash it thoroughly under running water.
- 3. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Set aside the seeds; they can be roasted and enjoyed as you would with pumpkin seeds.
- 4. Set your oven to 375 to 400 °F.
- 5. Place the squash with cut sides down on a baking sheet.
- 6. Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes until the flesh is soft and tender or to your desired al dente texture. Feel free to adjust the cooking time.
- To check doneness, insert a fork into the center of the meat. If you can easily pull it out, it’s done.
- 7. Once cooked, remove it from the oven.
- 8. Allow it to cool slightly for 20 to 30 minutes.
- 9. After it is cool enough to touch, use a fork to pull the flesh into long strands.
- 10. Put the strands in a colander and allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight to draw excess water out. This step is essential to prevent the squash from getting mushy and soggy after thawing.
- 11. Divide them into portion sizes before packing them into freezer bags. For freezing a large quantity, smaller packs will be more convenient to use later.
- 12. Remove excess moisture from the bags and seal them well.
- 13. Label the packages with the freezing date and quantity and pop them in the freezer.
Thawing and Using Frozen Spaghetti Squash
To thaw frozen squash safely, you have a few options to do it.
– In the refrigerator. Leave a frozen package in the fridge and allow it to thaw slowly. Refrigerator thawing always takes time, particularly for a large quantity. Be sure to do this task in advance to avoid having late meals.
– In cold water. Immerse a frozen package in a large bowl of ice water. Replace the water every 30 minutes until the vegetable noodles thaw completely.
– In the microwave. Microwave thawing is the fastest method. Use short intervals, and don’t overheat it.
If defrosted in the refrigerator, you can refrigerate thawed product for 3 to 4 days before cooking. You can safely refreeze it without cooking as long as it is not left out at room temperatures for more than 2 hours. However, it will be more mushy and watery after refreezing. If thawed in cold water and microwave, please cook it immediately.
Having your freezer stocked with frozen spaghetti squash allows you to whip up nutritious, tasty meals quickly, even on your busiest days. You can cook it as you would with regular noodles/ pasta. Keep in mind that it has been thoroughly cooked, so avoid reheating it too long to prevent mushy texture.
How Long Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash?
Cooked spaghetti squash holds its flavor and texture well for up to 8 to 12 months. That means, if you cook and freeze it correctly, you can make a year’s worth of supply to last until the next season. Be sure to check your freezer’s temperature periodically and set it to 0 °F to maintain frozen foods’ safety and quality.
Yes. Prepare the casserole, as usual, portion it out, pack in an oven- and freezer-safe container (such as in disposable aluminum dishes or in Pyrex dishes). Freeze up to 2 to 3 months for its best flavors. Thaw in the fridge and reheat in the oven before serving.
Sure, you can. But, it retains the flavor and texture better when properly blanched or cooked before freezing.
Fresh squash should feel heavy for its size. If it feels lighter, it might be an indication that the inside has begun to rot. Other signs include shriveled stem, cracked rinds, mushy and moldy spots. Give it a good sniff near the stem; it should smell mild. If it has a strong odor and is pungent, throw it out. The same goes for cut fruit in the fridge.
A whole fruit lasts for 1 to 2 months when kept in a cool, dark place. Cut fruit should be stored in a sealed, airtight container in a refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. After cooking, the dish should be refrigerated within 2 hours to maintain safety.
Spaghetti squash is a low-carb, healthy substitute for pasta. Freezing spaghetti squash is nothing complicated at all. What you need to do is to cook it, scrape the flesh, pack, and freeze.
If you want to enjoy this winter squash when it’s out of season, don’t hesitate to cook it in bulk and freeze it for future meals.
*image by NewAfrica/depositphotos