For Thanksgiving I made a butternut squash dish that was roasted with cinnamon and honey. I was determined to make it ahead of time, as I did many other dishes. My question was, could I freeze the cubed squash and roast it later? I had to do some research but I did have success! Sadly, it still wasn’t easy to peel and cube the darn stuff. But it was frozen and would save me much time later.
I’ve mentioned before that I try to time my squash roasting around the appearance of my P.S. His arm is much stronger than mine when whacking a squash in half. Slicing a butternut squash, peeling and cubing it was not something I was looking forward to. He was on his way out the door the day I chose to prep the squash, but I did get him to slice it for me. I was left to peel and dice. Ugh.
An hour later, I finally had my pile of butternut cubes and a sore arm. When I see those bags of peeled and diced squash in the produce section of the grocery store next time, I might rethink buying a whole squash. Whatever the price, it might be worth it. Especially since I have an arm that likes to get all sore and achey at random times.
My next question was, can I freeze it without losing quality? Should it be blanched or something? I’d always roasted squash before freezing it and had no idea what was the best way to handle it. A quick search of the web and I had my answer. Yes, go ahead and freeze it as is! Wikihow suggested spreading the cubed squash in a single layer on a sheet pan to freeze it, then placing it in a zippered bag to store it.
I obediently froze the squash cubes on a parchment lined sheet pan, then placed it in a bag to store until needed. I didn’t have much room in my freezer so I ended up putting it in the bag when it wasn’t quite frozen. I crossed my fingers I wouldn’t have a huge lump of squash to hack apart later. But I was lucky and the squash remained separated and tumbled out nicely when I went to roast it.
I let the squash sit in a bowl and thaw for several hours, then poured in the glaze and stirred it to coat. I spread it on a foil covered sheet pan, sprinkled more cinnamon over the pieces and roasted it in a 400°F oven until the cubes were just fork tender. I’d reheat it the next day in a crockpot so I wanted it a bit firmer to account for the further cooking while heating. I did turn on the broiler to brown it a little more for both flavor and color.
For the glaze I’d followed a couple of recipes. I wanted to use honey as well as maple syrup. Cinnamon would give it a final touch of flavor. The recipe I mostly followed also included pecan pieces and I nixed them. My family is picky about when they will eat nuts.
Everyone did love the squash without the nuts; I had very little left over. My squash-loving P.S. happily finished it off the next day. From making it ahead of time to roasting it quickly, this dish is a holiday treasure. It reheated well in the lined crockpot and was delicious.
Honey Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
A sweet squash dish with the flavors of maple syrup, honey and cinnamon.
- 6-7 cups butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cubed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon + extra for sprinkling if desired
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Prepare squash. If prepared ahead of time, freeze on a parchment paper covered sheet pan then store in a zippered freezer bag. Thaw at room temp for several hours before roasting.
In a large bowl add the squash. Mix rest of ingredients in a separate bowl then pour over squash. Mix well with spoon or fingers.
Spread squash on a foil covered baking sheet and sprinkle with extra cinnamon if desired. Roast at 400°F for 20 minutes or until fork tender.
Tip: if extra browning is desired, broil until browned and caramelized. Watch closely, it burns easily!
Freezing Squash Advice from Wikihow
Roasted Squash recipe adapted from Diethood