Butternut Squash Soup Concentrate

January 29, 2015

quart of butternut puree

Back in December, I roasted a butternut squash in order to make pasta sauce. I ended up with far more puree than I needed for the recipe and so stashed the remaining pint in the fridge. A day or two later, my mother-in-law was over and we were hungry for lunch. I went rummaging and found bread, cheese, and that puree.

butternut squash halves

I scraped the puree out into a small saucepan and added some chicken stock, a little lemon juice for brightness, and a some pepper (I use Better than Bouillon, so the chicken stock had plenty of salt). We ate the soup, toast, and cheese for lunch and both marveled at how good it was.

top of butternut puree

Since them, I’ve made a point of having a jar of butternut squash puree in the fridge for quick lunches. Over the weekend, I roast a butternut or two (the finished puree freezes nicely, so you can always make extra if you’ve got the space) until tender, and scrape off the skin. The warm squash goes into the blender (a food processor also works) with a little water and I puree it until it’s smooth. Then, I spoon the puree into a jar and pop it in the refrigerator.

butternut soup lunch

When I’m ready for lunch, I measure out a cup of the puree into my smallest pot, add a little bit of the chicken Better than Bouillon and about half a cup of water (there’s wiggle room here, depending on your desired soup consistency and how thick your puree was to start). Some days, I’ll add a little lemon zest and juice. Others, I’ll add freshly grated ginger and a little coconut milk. Yogurt, half and half, or sour cream also make really nice additions. As soon as it is warm, lunch is served.

little pot of butternut soup

Now, you might be wondering why I don’t just make a batch of butternut squash soup instead of this concentrate. It comes down to space, flexibility, and shelf life. I find it easier to make space in my fridge for a quart jar of concentrated puree than a larger jar of finished soup. I like that each day, I can make my soup taste a little different (I can also stir a little of the puree into other dishes, if the moment calls for it). And a puree made with nothing beyond squash and water lasts far longer than a soup that’s already been adjusted with dairy products.

Do you have any make-ahead staples that you’re particularly enjoying these days?

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16 thoughts on "Butternut Squash Soup Concentrate"

  • Instead of butternut squash, which I do like, I really prefer sweet potato soup. I’s love to keep some on hand in the freezer. I suppose you really could do the same thing with sweet potatoes. I guess since the squash or potatoes are so dense once pureed, it’s not possible to can them.

  • My new favorite ‘staple’ is parmesean broth. I came across the recipe on a food blog and have been hooked ever since. You make a broth with parmesean rinds, parsley, shallots and pepper. Cover with enough water and simmer covered for about 45 minutes. Stir occassionally becase the rinds have a little cheese left on them and can stick to the bottom of the pot. Then strain and store in the fridge or freezer. Great as a broth with some pastina for lunch, or used for risotto or any other dish you’d use a splash (or more) of stock in. You can either store up the rinds as you use hunks of parmesean or look for them in markets (Whole Foods sells them for sure).

  • I wonder how butternut cubes canned in chicken broth would be for soup, just pureed & heated. I think I will try it, since we still have lots of butternut from the garden!

  • What I’m happiest about grabbing from the freezer these days is containers of tomatoes — a delicious reminder of last summer. I’m also a fan of roasting butternut squash and love that it can be turned into such a quick soup. When roasting I tuck some shallots or garlic cloves into the scooped-out seed cavity — they’re protected enough to keep from burning, and are a great “secret ingredient” to incorporate into the squash puree before storing.

  • I too love butternut squash soup! I like to use the puree with some bacon crumbles or a dollop of goat cheese and stir in some pasta. Makes a scrumptious pasta sauce.

    My go-to easy freeze is gingered carrot soup. I roast the carrots with onion chunks, olive oil, and just a bit of garlic. Then I boil them in broth with some fresh ginger. Blitz the whole thing with the immersion blender and I’m set. My sister adds potatoes to make it heartier. I bet you could use squash or sweet potato too!

  • I bake and mash pumpkin from our garden, then freeze it in pint and smaller jars. We don’t use a ton of pumpkin at a time, so I’ve found the quart jars to be too big to thaw out all at once. I’ll stir a bit of pumpkin into lentil soup, waffle & pancake batter, smoothies, bread or pasta dough, all sorts of things.

  • Pesto.

    I make a lot when it is in season and put it in the freezer, then use it throughout the year. I use it for deviled eggs, on pasta, add it to soups and use it in place of fresh basil when recipes call for it.

    I think my next go to is going to be apple butter made with pippin apples, so I can have pie out of season.

  • This is genius! I’m fairly practical+creative (and space-constrained) in the kitchen, but I’ve never thought of this — and we love squashes — what a great idea! Thank you!

  • This is my super-busy time of year so *any* homemade staple is thoroughly enjoyed! Homemade yogurt and fruit frozen in the summer have been my breakfast staples recently. Chicken stock (corn stock is all gone by now) along with already cooked lentils or beans starts many lunches. Bread stashed in the freezer compliments many of them. And so on…

  • I roasted my squash on Sunday and had soup for dinner tonight – yum! I added chicken broth, a little lemon juice salt, pepper, and a dollop of sour cream. Thanks for the idea!

  • For the past few years I’ve also made roasted squash soup and then canned it in my pressure canner. Kabocha squash is the best tasting followed by butternut. I am not that fond of Hubbard soup. To the soup base I’ve added coconut milk as well as Japanese curry (like Glico brand). The added curry is a very nice sweet curry spice to the soup. By the way my dogs also love roasted squash and they don’t seem to be too particular about what varieties they eat. I add it to their dry kibble.

    1. The USDA doesn’t recommend that you can purees of any kind, even in a pressure canner. They are often too dense for the heat to penetrate well.