If you’ve made more squash casserole than you can consume within a few days, try freezing it before you throw it away. Squash is an easy vegetable to freeze and is best frozen after being cooked. This will prevent any bacteria from multiplying as these are frozen along with the food. For this reason it is important to defrost the casserole slowly, as doing it at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit will cause bacteria to grow rapidly, increasing the risk of food poisoning.
Freezing the Casserole
Divide the casserole into small portions and place in containers that have an airtight lid.
Leave casserole out to cool down for a maximum of two hours. Placing the casserole in the freezer while still hot will raise the temperature of the freezer, raising the risk of bacteria multiplying. By separating into smaller portions, the casserole will cool down more quickly and also defrost better.
Fix the lids onto the containers and ensure no air or liquids can get in or out.
Check that the freezer temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Above this temperature, bacteria will start to reproduce.
Leave space between items in the freezer so that they don’t stick together with ice.
Defrost by placing the casserole in the refrigerator or immersing the containers in cold water. Alternatively, defrost in the microwave. Eat within one or two days of defrosting, and within six months to one year of freezing.
Store food in the freezer as soon as possible, as it should be frozen when it is in optimum condition. Freezing will not result in losing any of the nutrients in the squash or other ingredients. On the contrary, these are retained better when frozen, compared to when the vegetables travel long distances.
If, after defrosting, you notice an odd smell or color, discard immediately rather than risk an illness. As long as the casserole has been stored in air tight containers and hasn’t been left for over a year, it should be safe to eat.