How to Freeze Squash – Preparation
On a list of bad things to have happen, having a garden that grows too much food is definitely not on there. This year has so far been the best year in our garden and it’s only the middle of July! We are picking squash and zucchini like there is no tomorrow! We have grilled it, sauteed it, put it in corn muffins, made bread and we are still going strong!
I am however at a point where we have an excess and we simply will not use it all – and yes I have been giving it away too. The easiest thing to do with the excess is just to freeze it. As far as food preservation goes, this is one of the easiest ways to do it and it is almost impossible to mess up.
Before you do anything else, you need to clean your work area. I am completely germ phobic and you can never be to careful when you are preparing or preserving food. This means the counter-top where you will be cutting the Summer Squash, the work area where you will drain and bag the food and give the containers you will be using a quick sanitizing too. The last thing you want to do is freeze a bunch of germs.
You will need
- A stock pot full of boiling water
- A large bowl to cool your veggies in (just fill it up with water and ice)
- A slotted spoon to transfer the food from hot to cold water
- A colander
- Freezer Bags
How to Freeze Squash -Blanching the Squash
What is blanching? Blanching is a fun little trick where you plunge your food into boiling water for a brief period of time and then you plunge it into ice cold water to stop to cooking process. Fruits and veggies are typically blanched to soften without making mushy (asparagus, broccoli and green beans), remove a strong taste (cabbage and onion) or to prepare food for preservation by killing bacteria and enzymes that can remove nutrients and flavor over time.
This is so easy to do! Just bring the water in your stock pot to a boil and go ahead and prepare your bowl of ice water. Wash your squash thoroughly and then cut into 1/2 inch rounds. If you like to make zucchini bread then you may want to shred it instead of cutting it. If you have a large quantity then you may want to break it up into batches. Put your freshly cut squash into the boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Now I have seen recipes that call for 5 minutes – if you want to give that a try then you are more than welcome to or you can take my word for it that it creates mush.
How to Freeze Squash – Draining and Bagging Your Squash
Using your slotted spoon, remove the squash from the boiling water and put it directly into the bowl of ice water. Let it cool for 3-5 minutes and then use your slotted spoon to once again transfer your squash – this time from the cold water into a colander so it can drain. At this point you are not under any time constrain so if you want to boil a few more batches you can do that before you begin bagging things.
Make sure when you are bagging your squash you are using bags specifically made for freezing. The plastic is much thicker and will resist freezer burn much better than just an average bag. You can use Hefty One Zip bags, Ziploc bags or if you have a vacuum sealer you can use that as well. I used gallon bags but only filled them about 1/3 of the way (I was out of smaller bags). You will want to remove as much air as you can from the bag by pressing it out. Then I used the super fancy trick of putting a straw down into the bag, zipping the bag closed (expect for where the straw was sticking out) and then sucking the air out – who needs a vacuum sealer?
Pop your bags into the freezer and viola! You are done! It took just a little over an hour for me to prepare almost 15lbs of squash – if this seems like too much time you can enlist the help of a friend or the kiddos and it will go much faster. The squash will be good indefinitely but I usually try to cycle through things in 9-12 months. The most ideal way to preserve anything in the freezer is to use a vacuum sealer – these can range from $15 up to $300+. Unless you are doomsday prepping I think a smaller, inexpensive model will work just fine for any household. You can browse through them on Amazon here. I was out of bags for mine and needed to get this done today so I opted for Hefty freezer bags and a straw
I hope this helps with your overabundance of Summer Squash this year. You can Pin this for later and you can also follow The Best of Real Housewives Clip Coupon on Pinterest here.