Too much squash... already? It is an easy process to freeze it for the future. Since chilly weather is only a few months away (I know that is hard to imagine but tis true), some home grown produce stored in a bag would be a blessing. Think additions to savory stews and pasta sauces…
First, wash your squash with cool water. The fresher produce, the better. Remove the ends and cut into 1/2 inch slices.
Now it is time to blanch these beauties! Simply dump into a large pot of boiling water (making sure there is ample room for squash and plenty of water).
Cover with a lid and begin timing for three minutes. Keep an eye on the water level. If you are doing many batches, you may have to replenish your supply.
Once the three minutes are up, remove squash using a large slotted spoon (or a colander with a handle) and quickly submerge it into an ice water bath. This is meant to stop the cooking of your food. Let it sit about five minutes or until completely cooled. You will have to keep on adding ice as you prepare more batches.
Then, place squash into a colander to remove excess water. You may also want to throw them in the salad spinner for this very reason. After a few minutes, they are ready to freeze.
The reason for the blanching (aka, the quick submerging into boiling water followed by a treatment of quick chilling) is because it helps to prevent the active enzymes in your produce from causing a loss of flavor, color and texture. It also aids in retaining the vitamins in your frozen foods.
Place desired amount into plastic bag and suck out any extra air with a straw. Seal contents and freeze immediately. I like to even out my squash in the bag to make it as flat as possible so that it is stackable in my freezer.
- If you want to store shredded squash for recipes, do the procedures above but replace the blanching technique with a steaming treatment. Prepare small batches and steam for two minutes instead. When I am overwhelmed at harvest time, I often will skip the blanching process for shredded veggies (see this post here).
- Each vegetable has its own requirement of blanching time. You can find out that information here.
- The general rule of blanching is one gallon of water to one pound of veggies. I just eyeball it to make sure there is ¾ more water than produce.
- When squash is thawed, there will be some water in the bag. Remove it prior to cooking.
This squash is obviously not going to be as crispy as it was in its peak but it does make a good stir fry companion. We like to saute onions and garlic in olive oil until tender, add in thawed squash, cook until golden in areas and then simmer it with some italian flavored tomato sauce. Serve it on a bed of rice in the winter. Frugal and good! You can also season them and toss them in to your pan of roasting meat in the oven (or slow cooker) during the last 15 to 20 minutes of cooking.
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