How to freeze pumpkin in cubes for winter?
Suitable for cooking porridge, as well as baby puree.
How to freeze pumpkin for the winter cubes:
- It is necessary to peel the vegetable, cut it into cubes and blot with a paper towel in order to get rid of moisture.
- Next, spread on a plastic liner and leave in the freezer for a few minutes. It is necessary for the cubes to freeze a little and become hard.
- They are then transferred to an airtight bag, or in a special container for freezing.
- You can cook the pumpkin another way, in a ready-made form.
The product is beneficial for improving digestive and cardiovascular function.
Many people like the delicacy for its pleasantly sweet taste.
Regularly consuming the dainty, it is possible to adjust the digestive function and stop suffering from constipation. However, in order for the fruit to be beneficial, its storage must be correct.
Pumpkin at home is traditionally preserved in the cellars at a cool temperature. So it can stand for about a couple of months. Also, the pieces of the product are dried. Such storage methods are customary for many people. However, with the advent of modern refrigerators that do not require constant defrosting, freezing the raw material for the winter has become affordable and popular.
Not everyone knows how to freeze ripe pumpkin in the fridge for the winter at home. You should try to make sure that the vegetable has retained all its nutritional value and has not lost its taste. The crop for storage is selected only ripe, without defects. The fruit should have a smooth surface. If the flesh is light inside, the fruit is not good for preserving. Choose a fruit with a dry tail and thick skin for storage.
Of course, the useful substances in the frozen form will be somewhat less than in the fresh product. But, the vegetable still does not lose its usefulness in the freezer. Freezing pumpkin is a short and very simple process.
Preparing the pumpkin for freezer storage
You can use the freezer compartment of your refrigerator for this purpose. The product can be prepared in slices. Carve the pumpkin for freezing carefully. In this way, the casserole will not lose its shape or turn into mush afterwards.
The whole process is divided into several steps :
- At the very beginning, check that the oven is on and well heated.
- Slice the food.
- Peel the cut pulp from the inner pips.
- Put the slice in the oven.
- The seeds of the vegetable can also be dried.
- Once it has been heated it is ready to be eaten.
- When you take the pieces out of the oven, they should be placed in bags or containers.
Another way is to freeze the pumpkin in cubes raw. To do this, the vegetable is carefully peeled beforehand. Peel carefully so that there are no chunks left. Shred the pulp on a grater. Freeze only ripe varieties.
Yes, you can! This method allows you to save rich in vitamins and fiber pulp for a very long time. The exact dates depend on the initial product, its ripeness and juiciness, as well as the way it was prepared.
Before freezing the pumpkin for the winter it is cleaned and cut into pieces of different sizes and shapes, depending on the design of the freezer, the selected temperature and even the subsequent use.
Most often the pumpkin is peeled before freezing, since there is no point in storing the rind. It is not used for cooking and does not extend the shelf life in any way, but takes up useful space in the freezer.
The size of the slices also depends on how the flesh is further prepared for freezing. It should preferably be sliced at once into pieces fit for use in dishes.
Additional preparations include, for example, blanching the slices or pureeing them. Before freezing pumpkin for the winter it is worth to think about the possible recipes for its further preparation. This allows you to immediately cut it into slices of appropriate weight and shape.
It is highly desirable to do it with fresh flesh, as after thawing it becomes quite tender, and cutting it into neat slices will be quite problematic.
How to choose the right fruit and whether to freeze pumpkins for the winter in different varieties? The pumpkin must be unripe, this is important! The fruit, which has not reached full ripeness, can be frozen, but you should estimate in advance the usefulness of such preparations.
Pumpkin varieties do not matter at all. The only rule is not to mix them, since the melted pieces are later difficult to sort by grade, and depending on the recipe selected, some of them may not soften and spoil the dish.
Is it necessary to blanch the slices before freezing the pumpkin in the freezer and how to do it correctly? No, the procedure can be eliminated, but blanched pumpkin retains its shape somewhat better after defrosting and its color is richer.
Let us tell you about this popular way of storing pumpkin pulp with a practical example.
Before freezing the pumpkin for the winter in the freezer, cut the fruit and remove the seeds and skin. It is important not to save grams, but to cut the skin off a thick enough layer, capturing a couple of millimeters of pulp as well. Later on, while cooking you will assess the correctness of such actions.
Heat to a boil a large, at least 6-liter saucepan with water, prepare a spacious tray or a tray that fits in the freezer. If the volume of preparations will amount to several kilos, stock up on several such trays.
Chop the pumpkin flesh into small pieces. When blanching, it is advisable that the slices are not larger than 3 centimeters. We put them in small portions, up to half a kilogram, in a colander, together with it we dip them in boiling water. The time of soaking the pumpkin in hot water. up to three minutes, otherwise the flesh will overheat.
A minor mistake raises the question of whether the pumpkin can be frozen after a longer blanching time? Yes, but it doesn’t make sense. The outer layer of pulp soaks up a lot of moisture and breaks up easily after defrosting. The same goes for freezing overripe flesh. In that case it is definitely not worth blanching it, and you should be prepared for the fact that the defrosted pieces will be too soft. This imposes restrictions on their use in some recipes.
Place the blanched slices on a thin cloth placed in a baking tray. Let it cool for a few minutes, then put it in the freezer. After complete freezing, put the slices in portions into plastic bags and tie tightly.
How to Store Pumpkin in Freezer
Can I freeze a pumpkin in the freezer, then defrost it and eat it raw?? Yes, but regardless of the design of the freezer, it is necessary to hermetically seal the bags. If your refrigerator is working in the NO FROST mode this should be done without fail!
Of course, pumpkin can also be frozen in other ways. For overripe flesh, the mashed potatoes can be stored. This method is often preferred if the pumpkin is used in mashed form afterwards.
The method is also good in that it is not required to peel the pumpkin first, respectively to prepare a slightly larger amount of pulp. It requires preliminary softening, which is achieved by heating or boiling. The slices are warmed in the following ways:
Next, the softened pulp is peeled with a spoon or spatula from the skin, if necessary, grind it with a blender. Please note that you should not handle pumpkin slices too hot. they need to cool down completely. Mashed in plastic containers, after which you can already freeze the pumpkin in the freezer and then pack it in airtight bags.
Storing pumpkin in the refrigerator
In the refrigerator, the freshness time of the vegetable increases several times, if you adhere to the rules of preparation of the product:
- The fruit is sliced, the pieces are placed in a container and placed in the refrigerator.
- If there are no containers, the vegetable is covered with food plastic film and placed in a separate tray.
- Store cut pumpkin in the refrigerator for no more than 7 days. The shelf life of fresh pumpkin juice in the fridge is the same. up to a week.
How to properly defrost the pumpkin
According to how exactly the vegetable was frozen, there are several ways to defrost it:
- Freshly frozen pumpkin is ready for use immediately after removal from the freezer. Bring water, broth or milk to a boil, only then lower the pumpkin filling into the liquid.
- Grated half-finished product in hot lunches, add it at the end of cooking. You can’t do without defrosting if you plan to add the product to desserts (for example, pancake toppings).
- The baked fruit is also added only at the end of cooking, since it is practically a finished dish.
- Mashed potatoes need to be defrosted beforehand. To speed up the thawing process, use the microwave or refrigerator. In the first case, the process of defrosting to softness will take 2 to 3 minutes. Mashed potatoes transferred to the refrigerator will be ready to use in an hour.
- If you decide to use the half-finished product in the preparation of complementary foods, send it to boil in frozen form.
How to freeze grated pumpkin
Grated pumpkin takes up much less space in the freezer, ideal for dishes where you don’t need individual pieces (for example, in smoothies, baby food, most porridges). This is a great ingredient for baking or filling. No need to thaw. it goes straight into the dish.
Important nuance Let the pumpkin drain a little before packing, and be sure to let the air out of the bag. otherwise the vegetable will be covered with ice crust, and after thawing it will lose flavor.
Miss Clean Magazine recommends using portioned bags or making one brace no thicker than 1.5 cm. This one is easy to cut with a knife, without defrosting the entire vegetable stock. Repeated icing will spoil the pumpkin.
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Not everyone knows that the orange beauty can be frozen. There is an opinion that after defrosting the vegetable gets a rubbery taste, becomes watery and unfit for food. Yes, this happens if you freeze the product incorrectly.
Semi-finished pumpkin preserves almost all of its healthy properties and is not inferior to the fresh vegetable in any way. Most dishes can also be made with frozen pumpkin. In this case, the cooking process becomes easier and faster.
The only drawback of this method of storage is that frozen pumpkin takes up a lot of space in the refrigerator. But with a large freezer, this disadvantage won’t be there either.
Below we will tell you how to properly freeze the vegetable to preserve not only the useful properties, but also the taste. Let’s start by preparing the product for freezing.
How to freeze diced pumpkin properly
Diced pumpkin is a very convenient dressing for stews, soups, compotes, it is well digested in porridge. But it is not recommended to freeze pumpkin, just pouring cubes into a bag or a container: they will freeze together, and then you will have to deal with a whole lump, which sized unevenly, the cubes turn into a mush.
To avoid this, there is one trick:
- Prepare in advance free space in the freezer and a flat surface (a large plate or a tray with sides).
- Arrange the diced pumpkin on the surface of your choice so that the slices do not touch each other.
- Place a second similar plate or tray on top (the bottom should not interfere with the bottom pieces).
- Put in the freezer for 2-10 hours at a temperature below.20°C so that the pumpkin slices get thoroughly frozen.
- Now pour them into a bag or other container. With this method, you don’t have to do portioning. The cubes will be easy to take out of the common bag. exactly as much as you need.
Tip To prevent the pumpkin pieces from losing their shape after defrosting, they can be dried in the oven or outdoors. The excess moisture will leave the flesh and the pumpkin will even become sweeter.
Pumpkin soup with seafood
In a saucepan, fry thyme, garlic, all seafood for no more than 1 minute. Pour in white wine, let it evaporate, add half of the fish broth.
Finely chop red onion, celery root and fry in the pan.
Bake pumpkin with thyme and beat in blender.
Cook for a few minutes and add the rest of the fish stock. Taste and season with spices. Put some chopped basil.
Place seafood on a plate, pour in broth and garnish with basil.