How to Freeze Squash
How to Freeze Yellow Squash
How to freeze squash is an often asked question when the crop comes in because yellow squash can be a heavy producer under the right conditions.
We are picking yellow squash from the garden every day here in mid July and have been since May. Even though we also share with friends and neighbors, we still have plenty of squash to deal with each week during peak season.
We eat it fried, grilled, sauteed, steamed, broiled, in squash casserole, and raw in salads or as a veggie snack with ranch dressing.
Even tho we eat it often (almost daily) we still have plenty so we freeze it to use later just as you would use any other frozen squash from the grocery store. We just think ours tastes better than store bought.
This article will show you step by step how to freeze yellow squash. Thanks for visiting!
"From the Garden" Photo Taken by Me Zigpop
Two Ways to Freeze Squash
Blanching and Steaming
I blanch some squash and steam some of it for freezing. My preferred method is steaming because it is easier and it takes up less space in my freezer. Steaming also leaves the squash more solid and intact.
I have a lot of squash from the garden, so I have to deal with it on just about a daily basis during harvest time.
We eat a lot of it fresh, but a family can only eat so much squash in a day.
This way we have plenty of squash throughout the winter for stews, frying, steaming, boiling, and for making squash casseroles and soups.
Many people in my community garden as it is a very rural area. We share all kinds of information. One friend may know about a particular pest that is bothering a crop, and another may know some information about better growing methods.
We all help each other when we can, and this is a squash freezing method that I've shared with many gardeners in my community. I've had others teach me quite a few things as well. It makes gardening more fun when you're involved with others who share the same passion.
Photo Taken by Me (Zigpop) in Our Garden
Some Freeze Squash Raw
Some people have told me they slice their squash and stick in the freezer without blanching or steaming it.
Actually the blanching or steaming of vegetables has a purpose.
It kills bacteria that exists on the vegetable when it is harvested from the garden.
It is a matter of personal choice, but my opinion is to take the extra time to blanch or steam it as directed. Steaming only takes a few minutes.
The vegetables also hold their texture and color better when steamed or blanched.
Wash, Slice, and Steam Squash
- Wash the squash and slice into 1/4" slices.
- Place squash in steamer basket.
- Place steamer basket on top of pot of already hot, nearly boiling, water.
- The water level in the pot should be about 1/2" to 1" below the bottom of steamer basket.
- Cover with a lid.
- Steam squash for 3 minutes; do not start counting the time until water is boiling and steam is obvious.
- Remove to sink after 3 minutes and place ice on top to stop the cooking.
- Rinse with cold water after most of the ice has melted.
- Place squash in a single layer on a clean towel to dry.
- Place another clean towel on top because you want the squash as dry as possible before freezing.
Squash in Steamer Basket
You can't see it from the picture, but there are holes in the bottom of this basket to allow the steam to get through.
Steamer baskets are a great kitchen item to have on hand. Foods retain their nutrients better when steamed. We can steam broccoli, cauliflower, squash, and many other veggies. We also like steamed shrimp.
Eating Fresh Squash - A Vegetable that Offers Variety
Yes I did mention using squash as a paperweight as you can see in the photo below. It was just so I could take a picture and hold down the freezer paper that kept curling up on me; the squash just happened to be handy.
Here are several ways to use squash from the garden:
- As a paperweight
- Fresh with ranch dressing
- In green salads
- In pasta salads
- Boiled in lightly salted water, then peppered (adding butter is good too)
- On kabobs
- Sliced and pan broiled in oven with olive oil, salt, and fresh ground black pepper
- In squash casserole
- In soups and stews
- Pickled and canned
- Fresh in a fruit/veggie smoothie
Bagging and Sealing the Squash
- Once dry, I place the squash in a Food Saver bag.
- I have already marked my bag with a permanent marker to show the contents and date.
- At this stage, I've already sealed one open end of the Food Saver bag.
- Naturally, I don't seal the other end until the food is inside.
- I place the open bag flat in the freezer until squash hardens.
- Next, I use the handy dandy Food Saver to seal the bag tightly shut, and pop in the freezer.
- That's all there is to it!
A Must Have for Gardeners - Less Freezer Burn!
Hint about using a Food Saver...
Many vegetables (corn and squash for example) contain lots of water. I have an older model Food Saver but it works great on these foods if I slide them into the freezer first before sealing. This prevents the Food Saver from extracting all that water which makes a real mess and prevents the machine from making a proper seal.
Food Savers are great for meat and fish, too! Keeps food fresher longer.
What if I don't have a Food Saver?
Can I still freeze my squash?
Certainly, and I don't always use the Food Saver for my squash, but it is my preferred method for freezing. I purchase freezer bags at my local discount store (Fred's, Wal Mart, Dollar General) and use those.
If I place more than one layer of squash in a bag, I place a piece of freezer paper in between to separate them when using Zip Lock bags.
A Hot Tip to Save Money! I use Zip Lock sandwich bags for freezing my corn. Then I place several sandwich bags into one big gallon size freezer bag. I mark on the sandwich bags with permanent marker, but not on the gallon bags. That way I can re-use the gallon size bags over and again.
Zip Lock Squash
This is an image of squash being put up in a Zip Lock bag rather than using a Food Saver.
One layer of squash is in the bag after having been steamed and allowed to dry.
A layer of freezer paper is showing on top of the first squash layer.
I then placed another layer of blanched dried squash on top.
Bag was then sealed and placed in freezer. Be sure when using this method to get as much air out of the bag as possible.
Some people seal the bag except in the very corner and attempt to remove the rest of the air with a straw.
VOTE Photo Courtesy of Pix by Marti
Do you freeze veggies from your garden?
What's In a Name?
Why is Squash Called Squash?
The name "squash" is of Native American origin from the Narragansett word "askutasquash" which translates to eaten uncooked or raw. Squash is one of the oldest crops, possibly dating back 10,000 years.
Squashes are in the gourd family, and those with hard shells have often provided utensils and containers in addition to being a food source.
Early settlers in New England and Virginia did not take to squash too well until they had to fight to survive the hard winter. That's when they realized it might be a good idea to include this vegetable among their food staples.
Squashes come in a wide variety of types, colors, and flavors. I grow yellow straight neck squash, zucchini, patty pan, and a variety of winter squashes.
Image Courtesy of aperkins01096 at Flickr
I Love Angel Blessings!
Thank You Squid Angels!
Angels don't have to speak to be heard, be visible to be seen, or be present to be felt. Believe in angels and they will always be near. ~ Unknown
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