(Note: This recipe absolutely requires a Pressure Canner)See this page for the safety reasons why.
Photos show a pumpkin, but ut is the same for butternut and other winter squash!
Just like selecting any squash, look for one that is firm, no bruises or soft spots, and a good orange color. Pumpkins and squash should have a hard rind and stringless, mature pulp of ideal quality for cooking fresh. You can also use these directions for any hard winter squash, such as jarrahdale, hubbard, neck, turban, etc.
Yield: Butternut squash are medium sized. You can usually obtain about 2 or 3 cups or per squash. An average of 16 pounds of raw squash is needed per canner load of 7 quarts. Or an average of 10 pounds per canner load of 9 pint jars. This works out to an average of 21/4 pounds per quart.
Wash the exterior of the squash in cool or warm water, no soap.
Cut the squash in half. A serrated knife and a sawing motion works best - a smooth knife is more likely to slip and hurt you!
And scrape the insides. You want to get out that stringy, dangly stuff that coats the inside surface. I find a heavy ice cream scoop works great for this.
Note: SAVE THE SEEDS:
The seeds can be used either to plant squashs next year (if the squash isn't a hybrid), or roasted to eat this year! Place them in a bowl of water and rub them between your hands. then pick out the orange buts (throw that away) and drain off the water. Spread them out on a clean towel or paper towel to dry and they're ready to save for next year's planting or roast. Click here for roasting instructions! (opens in a new window)
Remove the stem, and put the squash into a microwaveable. You may need to cut the squash further to make it fit. The fewer the number of pieces, the easier it will to scoop out the cooked squash afterwards.
Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl, cover it, and put in the microwave.
Cook for 10 minutes on high, check to see if it is soft, then repeat in smaller increments of time until it is soft enough to separate (peel by hand) the skin easily, but the squash is not yet mushy.. Normally it takes 20 or 30 minutes in total. Caution: Do not mash or puree.
You can also cook it on the stovetop; it takes about the same length of time in a steamer (20 to 30 minutes). I use a double pot steamer, but you could use an ordinary large pot with a steamer basket inside it!: Save the cooking liquid to fill the jars - otherwise you will need to get another pot of water boiling to replace the lost liquid.
You should be able to easily peel off the skin using a blunt knife in one hand and an oven mitt (I like the waterproof silicone type) in the other.
Many times the skin or rind will simply lift off with your fingers (see the photo at left) . I'll bet you didn't realize making your own squash glop... err, "puree" was this easy! You may want to let it cool a bit first.
Now, cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes. Do NOT mash it!
Note: there are many varieties of squash and some make better pies that other (due to sugar content, flavor, texture and water content. Drier, sweeter, fine-grained pies; such as butternut, "neck, jarrahdale, are excellent If your squash is much more watery than the puree in the photo at right (there should not be any free water), you may want to let it sit for 30 minutes and then pour off any free water. That will help prevent you pie from being too watery! Beyond, that, I have not found that the water makes a difference - I wouldn't be TOO concerned about it!
Fill jars with cubes and cooking liquid, leaving 1-inch headspace. Fill up to 1 inch from the top with the hot cooking liquid that you saved in step5. If you threw it out, add boiling water. Adjust the rings and lids.
Using the jar tongs, put the jars on the rack in the canner. By now the water level has probably boiled down to 3 inches. If it is lower than that, add more hot tap water to the canner. When all the jars that the canner will hold are in, put on the lid and twist it into place, but leave the weight off (or valve open, if you have that type of pressure canner). And, yes, you MUST use a Pressure Canner!!!
Put the heat on high and let the steam escape through the vent for 10 minutes to purge the airspace inside the canner.
After 10 minutes of venting, put the weight on and close any openings to allow the pressure to build to 11 to 13 pounds in a dial-type gauge canner - shown in the photos (or at 10 to 15 pounds pressure in a weighted gauge canner.
Once the gauge hits 11 pounds (or 10 pounds in a weighted gauge type), start your timer going - for 55 minutes for pint jars and quarts for 90 minutes. Adjust the heat, as needed, to maintain 10 pounds of pressure. Remember - this is an estimated time based on cubed squash - I still recommend you put the finished jars in the refrigerator afterwards.
Pressure required depends on the altitude where canning is being done. Note: the chart below will help you determine the right processing time and pressure, if you are above sea level.
It is important to learn how to operate your pressure canner by reading the owner's manual that came with your particular canner. If you cannot find your owner's manual, you can obtain find one online: Here is where to find some common manufacturer's manuals:
or by contacting the company that made your canner. Give the model number to the manufacturer, and they will send you the right manual. More information about pressure canners and a variety of models you can order.
|Table 1. Recommended process time for Winter Squash in a dial-gauge pressure canner.|
|Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||Process Time||0 - 2,000 ft||2,001 - 4,000 ft||4,001 - 6,000 ft||6,001 - 8,000 ft|
|Hot||Pints||55 min||11 lb||12 lb||13 lb||14 lb|
|Table 2. Recommended process time for Winter Squash in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.|
|Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||Process Time||0 - 1,000 ft||Above 1,000 ft|
|Hot||Pints||55 min||10 lb||15 lb|
When the processing time from the chart above is up, turn off the heat, and allow the pressure canner to cool and the pressure to drop to zero before opening the canner. Let the jars cool without being jostled. After the pressure drops to zero (usually, you can tell but the "click" sound of the safety release vents opening, as well as but the gauge. Let the pressure in the canner drop to zero by itself. This may take 45 minutes in a 16-quart canner filled with jars and almost an hour in a 22-quart canner. If the vent is opened before the pressure drops to zero OR if the cooling is rushed by running cold water over the canner, liquid will be lost from the jars. Too rapid cooling causes loss of liquid in the jars!
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool on a wooden cutting board or a towel, without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (until warm to the touch). You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Now store them in a cool dark area, like a basement, or pop them into the fridge and you're done!
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