3 Easy Methods for Dehydrating Butternut Squash

Butternut squash in a bowl
There are three methods for dehydrating butternut squash. To dry it in a food dehydrator, set the temperature to 135°F and dry it for 8 hours. For oven-drying, set it to the lowest temperature and dry for 4 hours. Another option is to puree the squash and dehydrate it as fruit leather.

How to Dehydrate Butternut Squash in a Food Dehydrator

The easiest way to dehydrate butternut squash is to use a food dehydrator:

  1. Rinse the exterior of the butternut squash to remove dirt and debris. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
  2. Peel the butternut squash using a sturdy vegetable peeler or a knife. The skin can be difficult to remove, so ensure the blades are sharp.
  3. Once the skin is removed, quarter the squash, then cut the quarters into thin, even slices. Next, dice the slices into 1/2-inch cubes.
  4. Lay the cubed butternut squash on a food dehydrator tray in a single layer, ensuring there is space for airflow around each piece.
  5. Set the food dehydrator temperature to 135°F and place the dehydrator trays inside.
  6. Let the squash dehydrate for 8 hours.
  7. Check on the butternut squash regularly and test for dryness. To determine whether a piece is dry, cut it in half and gently squeeze – if any moisture appears, give it more time.
  8. When the squash pieces are completely dry, remove the trays from the dehydrator and allow the squash to cool to room temperature.
  9. Transfer the dehydrated squash to airtight containers and store them in a cool, dry place or in a freezer to maximize shelf life.
dehydrated butternut squash chips
Dehydrated butternut squash

How to Dehydrate Butternut Squash in an Oven

Butternut squash can be dehydrated using a convection or conventional oven. Most ovens operate at a higher temperature than dehydrators, so it is important to monitor the drying process to ensure the squash doesn’t burn.

  1. Prepare the squash by rinsing it and drying it. Remove the skin, quarter it, and then cut it into 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the squash pieces on it in a single layer, leaving space between the pieces.
  3. Set the oven to the lowest temperature and place the baking sheet inside. Prop open the oven door using a wooden spoon to increase the airflow.
  4. Allow the squash to dehydrate for 4-8 hours.
  5. Check on the squash at regular intervals. Ovens have ‘hot spots’, so move the trays around the oven regularly and flip the squash pieces periodically to ensure even drying.
  6. When fully dry, remove the trays from the oven and let the squash cool to room temperature.
  7. Store dehydrated squash in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.
Butternut squash pieces laid out for oven drying
Butternut squash pieces

How to Dehydrate Butternut Squash by Making Fruit Leather

Butternut squash is classified botanically as a fruit, and it is possible to turn it into fruit leather with these instructions:

  1. First, peel and chop the ripe butternut squash into quarters. Remove the seeds and pulp.
  2. Steam the squash for 30 minutes until soft.
  3. Once the squash is soft, use a blender or food processor to turn it into a smooth puree.
  4. Line dehydrator trays with parchment paper, or use fruit roll trays if your dehydrator has them.
  5. Pour the puree onto the lined dehydrator trays, using a spatula to ensure the layers are even. A thicker layer is better than too thin of a layer.
  6. Place the trays into the food dehydrator and set the temperature to 140°F.
  7. Dehydrate for 4-8 hours, checking on it regularly. The leather is dry when it has fully set and is easy to lift and peel away from the tray. It should hold its shape.
  8. Once it has solidified and has a leather-like texture, remove the dehydrator trays and let them cool to room temperature.
  9. Peel the fruit leather away from the trays and cut it into strips. Lay each strip on a piece of parchment paper that is slightly longer and wider than the piece of fruit leather.
  10. Roll the leather with the parchment and keep the parchment tight against the leather. This will create a fruit leather roll-up that can be tied with a bit of string or ribbon and placed in airtight containers.
  11. Rolled fruit leather has a shelf life of 6 months when stored in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.
Rolls of dehydrated pureed butternut squash
Butternut squash leather

What Temperature Do You Dehydrate Butternut Squash?

The best temperature to dehydrate butternut squash is between 135°F to 145°F if using a food dehydrator. If using an oven, set it to its lowest setting and keep the door open to ensure the squash doesn’t burn.

How Long Does it Take to Dehydrate Butternut Squash?

It takes between 4 and 8 hours to fully dehydrate butternut squash, depending on the method used and the thickness of the pieces.

Person cutting thin and even slices of butternut squash
Cutting thin pieces of butternut squash

Can You Dehydrate Raw Butternut Squash?

Yes, you can dehydrate raw butternut squash, but it must be cooked before consuming it. Raw dehydrated squash can be rehydrated in boiling water or added to the cooking liquid of stews or soups.

Do You Have to Blanch Butternut Squash Before Dehydrating It?

No, you do not have to blanch butternut squash before dehydrating or freezing it. However, blanching does preserve the orange color, flavor, and texture of the squash.

  1. To blanch butternut squash, bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Use a spoon to transfer cubed or sliced butternut squash pieces into the boiling water for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon and immediately submerge them into a bowl filled with water and ice to stop the cooking process.
  4. Drain the pieces, pat dry, and then dehydrate them.

How to Use Dehydrated Butternut Squash

Dehydrated butternut squash is healthy, versatile, and can be rehydrated and used in many squash recipes:

  • Add butternut squash to zucchini bread for extra moisture
  • Add to smoothies for an extra dose of vitamin C and vitamin A
  • Combine with other winter squash varieties to make tasty stews
  • Make butternut squash chips as a healthy, low-carb alternative to potato chips
  • Make butternut squash soup for a hearty winter meal
  • Mix it with other fall veggies as a healthy side dish
  • Put a twist on a classic pumpkin pie by adding pureed acorn and butternut squash
butternut squash soup
Butternut squash soup

What is the Best Way to Store Dehydrated Butternut Squash?

The easiest way to store dehydrated butternut squash is to keep it in an airtight container at room temperature. Canning jars such as Mason jars work well for storing dehydrated butternut squash.

Store butternut squash containers away from heat and direct sunlight. To maximize the shelf life, store containers in a cool, dry place or keep them in a refrigerator or freezer.

What is the Shelf Life of Dehydrated Butternut Squash?

If stored at room temperature, dehydrated squash has a shelf life of 6 to 12 months. If kept in airtight containers in freezer bags inside a freezer, the shelf life is two years.

Jack Fairey

Jack is a writer and keen foodie based in London, England. When he's not writing, he can be found in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes for him and his partner to enjoy!

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