As we discussed in our previous post on when to pick spaghetti squash, this winter wonder is perfect for days when you want to up your veggie intake, can’t be bothered to take out the vegetable noodle maker, or simply go without pasta. So, wouldn’t it be great if you could have some to hand whenever you wanted it? Of course it would!
Can you freeze cooked spaghetti squash and enjoy it months after harvesting? Luckily, you can…and I’m going to show you how in this post. ?
Preparing spaghetti squash for freezing
As the title gives away, this is all about freezing cooked spaghetti squash. Unfortunately, freezing raw spaghetti squash just doesn’t work as well. This is largely because you’ll want to retain the strands that give it its name, so cutting the squash up into small cubes – like you would with a pumpkin or butternut squash – isn’t really an option.
So, we need to cook the squash before we begin the freezing process. Thankfully, this is a simple task, but it can take a little time, so make sure you have some to spare.
Let’s take a look at how to cook spaghetti squash so we can properly store it in our freezers.
How to cook spaghetti squash before freezing
There are two main ways to cook spaghetti squash to prepare it for freezing: oven baked and microwaved. Now, you can cook spaghetti squash in other ways if you are eating it straight away, but the results can be disappointing when frozen and thawed out.
One of the biggest complaints about spaghetti squash is the fact that it can often turn out wet and mushy, which isn’t exactly appetizing! If your spaghetti strands are like this before freezing, they’ll be a whole lot worse after they’ve been defrosted. So, what to do?
Salting spaghetti squash to improve texture
The best solution is to remove a lot of the moisture before cooking. How do you do this? By using an age old method: salting.
I know everyone goes into a spin when you mention salt these days, but this method really isn’t as bad as it sounds. You’ll remove most of the salt when drying and you won’t need to use as much seasoning later on; no biggie, promise.
So, how do you salt a spaghetti squash? Easy. Instead of cutting your squash vertically from top to bottom, cut it into rings instead. Not only will this give you more surface area to get that salt onto, it’s also a lot easier to cut a spaghetti squash horizontally than it is vertically.
Spaghetti squashes are hard little buggers, so I’ll take any help I can get!
Plus, as you can see from the image above, cutting a spaghetti squash this way will work with the fibers, not against them. Why is this a good thing? It means you’ll get longer spaghetti strands as a result. Bonus!
You should be able to get four decent sized rings from an average spaghetti squash (just remember to cut off the stem and blossom ends of the squash as well so every ring has the flesh exposed).
Once you have your rings cut, remove the seeds from the center and rub them liberally with salt. Leave the squash rings on a rack for 15 to 20 mins before rubbing dry with a paper towel, which will remove most of the salt too. Make sure you have a container underneath your rack to catch any excess moisture, just in case.
Now that you’ve removed a ton of water from your squash, it’s cooking time:
Method #1: Cooking spaghetti squash in the oven
Easily the best way to prepare your spaghetti squash for freezing is to oven bake them. Even after salting, your squash will have a fair amount of moisture left in it, and roasting it in the oven allows more of it to evaporate.
Preheat your oven to 400°F (220°C) while the salt does its magic. Once you’ve dried them off and removed the excess salt, place the rings on a baking sheet and put them in the middle of the oven for around 30 minutes.
When they’re done, remove from the oven and leave to cool enough that you can handle them without going, “oooh, ooh, ahh”, and begin working the strands away from the rind with a fork. Just be careful not to break those beautifully long filaments too much! You can use your fingers if you prefer.
Place the squash’s fibrous lengths into a sieve or colandar and separate fully, allowing them to cool completely. Now, you’re ready to move on to the freezing part below, but first let me explain the second cooking method: microwaving.
Method #2: Cooking spaghetti squash in the microwave
While it’s not as good as cooking a spaghetti squash in the oven, using a microwave may suit some of you better, so I thought I’d include it here. The process is pretty simple, but you’ll still want to salt your spaghetti squashes first.
The only difference here is that you need to retain the liquid that has been drawn out of them for cooking. Therefore, it’s best to choose a microwaveable dish to catch the excess moisture, that way you can just rub the salt off and place the rings straight in.
Now that your squash rings are ready to cook, put them in the microwave with the extracted juice, uncovered, and cook on high for seven minutes to get things going. As spaghetti squash sizes vary, you’ll want to keep checking them throughout the cooking time, but an initial seven minute cook will give them a good start.
After that, keep cooking the squash in one minute bursts until soft and the fibers start to come away when scraped with a fork. Remove them all from the tough outer rind and place in a colander or sieve.
Now that’s done, it’s on to the freezing your spaghetti squash so you can enjoy it later.
How to freeze spaghetti squash
Your spaghetti squash is cooked, cooled, and sitting patiently in your colander or sieve…what now? For the very best results, you need to be a little patient, too.
Put the colander or sieve along with the spaghetti squash strand into the fridge for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight) before freezing. Why? Well, doing so will ensure that the strands are fully chilled before you put them in freezer bags and into your freezer.
Even the slightest amount of warmth can create moisture inside your freezer bags, and that’s something you want to avoid. Oh, and put a bowl beneath the colander or sieve, too, as you they might still have a little draining to do and I don’t want you to end up with a puddle in your fridge!
Now they are chilled nicely, it’s time to transfer them into freezer bags. I like to use Ziploc bags for this, as they create a pretty good seal to keep the air out and they’re reusable too.
Separate the strands into the portion sizes you want, but work quickly so your spaghetti stays as cold as possible. For this reason, it’s best to write your labels and dates first if you’re using them.
Finally, give the bags a gentle squeeze to expel all of the air inside before sliding the lock-top shut. If you really want to make sure all the air has been removed – a good idea if you think they’ll be in the freezer a while – try the water displacement method below:
1. Fill a tub, large bowl, or your sink with cold water.
2. Put your spaghetti squash in a Ziploc freezer bag and seal almost to the end, leaving just an inch open.
3. GENTLY lower the bag into the water, keeping the open part of the bag above the surface. This will allow the air to escape whilst forming a tight seal around the bags contents.
4. Once your bag has been submerged as far as the open part of the bag and no air remains inside, seal the bag shut and remove from the water. That’s it! One air-free bag ready for freezing.
Place the bags of spaghetti squash in your freezer, shut the door, and congratulate yourself on a job well done!
How to reheat frozen spaghetti squash
You’ve gone to all the trouble of freezing spaghetti squash properly, so you’re going to want to know the best way to reheat it, right? Of course you are!
Despite being relatively delicate with all those long, thin, fibrous strands, spaghetti squash stands up to reheating pretty well. Here are four easy methods for you to try:
Method #1: Reheating spaghetti squash in the microwave
Partially thaw your spaghetti squash in the refrigerator, then empty the contents of your freezer bag into a microwavable dish. Add a little olive oil, just a splash will do, and some seasoning to taste.
Cover partially, then cook on medium for around 45 seconds. Remove, stir, and repeat (if necessary) until piping hot.
Method #2: Reheating spaghetti squash on the stovetop
If you don’t have a microwave, or if you just prefer not to use it, you can reheat spaghetti squash on the stovetop just as well, and you won’t even need to thaw it out (although, it’s better if you do).
Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and add your spaghetti squash. Turn the heat down low and simmer for five to seven minutes or until warmed through.
Method #3: Reheating spaghetti squash using a steamer
Thaw your spaghetti squash a little in your refrigerator, then take the partially defrosted strands and place them into your steamer.
Steam for around five minutes to warm the fibers through completely (check to make sure they’re properly reheated before serving).
Method #4: Reheating spaghetti squash using a skillet
This is a different way to reheat your spaghetti squash, and it can transform a dish. Think crispy noodles and you’ll get the idea ?
Thoroughly thaw your squash, remove from the freezer bag, and pat dry with a kitchen towel. The more moisture you can get rid of, the better.
Heat a skillet over a medium/high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the spaghetti squash to the skillet and spread out to form a thin layer of “noodles” in the pan. Season well and cook until golden brown and crispy.
Is frozen spaghetti squash as good to eat as fresh?
Good question, and it’s well worth addressing here as freezing spaghetti squash does require a certain amount of effort. The short answer is, no, frozen spaghetti squash won’t be as good as the freshly cooked stuff, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother.
Spaghetti squash can be hard to source out of season, so having a few batches ready to go in your freezer can only be a good thing. If you grow your own squashes, freezing becomes even more important…what on earth would you do with all those fruits once you cut them from the vine?
So, while you will lose a little flavor and texture through freezing, it’s still worth your while. Plus, if you follow all of the tips laid out above, the difference will be minimal, anyway.
How long does frozen spaghetti squash last for?
When done correctly, spaghetti squash will keep in the freezer for as long as eight months. This is good to know if you have a great harvest and want to freeze large batches of the stuff.
Of course, the sooner you eat it, the better it will be, but six to eight months isn’t out of the ordinary.
Will freezing spaghetti squash affect its nutritional values?
Thankfully, no. Again, if you are lucky enough to have your own vegetable patch and can freeze your spaghetti squashes as soon as they are ripe, you’ll actually be better off than eating store bought squash.
Freezing slows down everything, including the deterioration of a vegetable’s nutritional profile. It’s this “slowing” that allows us to preserve the food itself, and the nutrients found within are no different. (1)
There you go. Can you freeze cooked spaghetti squash has been answered! Not only that, you also now know exactly how to prepare it, freeze it, and reheat it, too.
If you’re going to try this out, drop me a comment below to let me know how you get on!
About The Author:
Lisa Williams is a committed vegan, passionate animal welfare advocate, and keen follower of too many v-friendly food blogs to mention. She started happyhappyvegan.com back in 2016 because she felt there was a need for more straightforward information on plant-based living.
Back then, too many sites seem to either concentrate solely on recipes or be too intimidating or inaccessible for the v-curious, and she wanted to change that. The landscape is certainly a whole lot different now!
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- Mary Jane Brown, PhD, RD (UK) | Fresh vs Frozen Fruit and Vegetables — Which Are Healthier? | https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fresh-vs-frozen-fruit-and-vegetables