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Friday, August 8, 2008

Freezing Your Squash/Zucchini

(This demonstration is using squash, but this also works with zucchini)

If you have ever grown squash or zucchini, or if you have had a neighbor that has, you know that you could end up with a fridge full of the stuff. Michael and I have given away hoards of squash, eaten it almost every other night and we still have a surplus.

I started by washing them all up (this step is really important if you are using pesticides.) Next, I just sliced them up.

While you are slicing, you can get a pot of boiling water going.

Once the water is boiling, throw some of the squash in the boiling water and cover with a lid. You will want them to cook for about 5 mins. This kills the enzymes and bacteria that make your vegetables discolor and go bad.

Prepare an ice bath. After the 5 minutes is up you will scoop out the squash, I used a large slotted spoon, and put it in the ice bath.

This stops the cooking process, I left the cooked squash in the ice bath for about 5 minutes as well.
I then divided it up into portions that my family would eat, and placed them in bags. I like these bread bags because they are inexpensive and it is really easy to squeeze out the air (which helps prevent freezer burn). I then labeled a large freezer bag and put these smaller bags in the large freezer bag.
When we are ready to eat squash again, which may be months. We can pull these out of the freezer, melt some butter in a pan and cook these babies up. Yum!


Kristi said...

I wish I lived close, I would be happy to take some off of your hands. Our garden was a big gigantic FLOP this year. We got one tiny little tomato, that's it. I ate it and didn't even have to chew. Oh well :) I love blending up yellow squash to feed to my baby, he loves it!

Tea Rose said...

That is a great technique for freezing your squash. We have never had enough to worry about how to keep it but this year we will have a lot of butternut squash so I might use your technique with those. Thanks.

jennifer said...

Tea rose:

Butternut squash, a winter squash variety, are actually good keepers, meaning you can keep them intact in your home for months after harvest. I think I used my last one in February.

But read on for freezing info.

Unlike their tender summer counterparts, winter squash have tough skins. You'll go crazy trying to slice and peel them uncooked! (But it's also this quality that makes them good keepers.)

My method for freezing is to cook, then scoop out the pulp from the skin and freeze.

There are three ways to cook: oven, microwave and crockpot. For oven or microwave, cut squash in half, remove seeds. Bake at 350 or so until fork tender (Time will vary quite a bit depending on size; check after 30 minutes). For microwave, cover loosely with plastic wrap or offset lid (for venting steam).

As for the crockpot, you may be able to fit your butternut squash in whole! This saves the steps of cutting through the tough skin. It will take longer on the low setting than high, of course. Either way, check after a couple of hours. When tender, slice open, remove seeds and scrape flesh from skin.

I like to store the cooked flesh in the same quantities as called for in some of my favorite recipes.

As for zucchini, I like to grate it and freeze it in portions I can later use in zucchini bread. Somehow I never want to turn the oven on in the summer!