Did you overestimate how much yellow squash you needed to plant? If so, you need to learn how to freeze yellow squash.
If you already know how to freeze zucchini, freeze broccoli, or freeze strawberries, then learning how to freeze yellow squash will be a breeze for you. If you have never preserved anything before, it's easy to do and there is a whole host of vegetables you can freeze (not to mention fruits and other foods).
How to Freeze Yellow Squash
Let's say you are growing yellow squash this season and you're having an awesome harvest in your garden. Now you have more yellow squash than you know what to do with. How can you preserve it without it going bad? You wouldn't want to waste food.
Gather up all of the yellow squash that you think you won't eat anytime soon. Now you will want to give it a good scrub to remove any dirt, bug poop (ew!), pesticides (double ew!!) or anything else you don't want to put in your mouth.
We usually put everything in a colander and run cold water over the veggies while we scrub with a vegetable cleaning brush. You can also get cleaning sprays that are specifically made for vegetables (don't worry, they make organic ones).
With a whole pile of fresh and clean squash, you want to prep them for blanching. The way we do this is by cutting them into slice.
To get the best results in slicing squash, we like to use a mandolin slicer. This kitchen utensil is the most accurate way of getting even consistent slice every time. Be careful though, it is really easy to cut yourself on one of these tools. Trust me, you will want to wear protective gloves while using it.
You can also go the old fashioned route and use a knife and cutting board. The mandolin slicer just makes things quicker especially if you have a lot of squash to cut. But if you want to use a knife, here are a few ways to safely cut squash.
This is the most important step of the entire process. Now, we blanch your yellow squash. Don't worry, it's not hard, at all.
Fill a large stock pot with water and bring it to a boil on your stove top. Once you have a good rolling boil, place a portion of your squash chips into the water. Let the water continue to boil and set your timer for 3-5 minutes.
This time range may seem pretty wide. It just depends on the size of the squash and how large of a portion you boil at once. Test out your chips during the process. You want you squash to still be pretty crisp.
Once your timer goes off immediately put your squash chips into an ice water bath. The sudden shift from hot to cold will stop the cooking process so your squash will stay nice and crisp.
Can I freeze squash without blanching?
Yes, you can, but we don't advise it. Squash, in general, has an enzyme that does not die during the freezing process. So unlike most things when frozen your squash will continue to age and degrade over time. This will cause a drop in quality, changes in color, and the flavor will suffer.
My blanching prior to freezing, this enzyme is destroyed and your squash will last much longer in your freezer. So, we totally recommend blanching as the best way to ensure long term quality.
Once all of your squash has been cut, blanched, and cooled, pull out a measuring cup and start sorting out portions. We prefer to portion in 1 cup increments and freeze in quart bags. For larger families you can freeze entire batches in a gallon freezer bag.
Whichever size you pick remember to squeeze out as much of the water as possible. Any excess water in the bag will turn to ice once frozen and may cause your squash to frost bite.
This is the easiest step. Flatten out each of your bags and stack them on a shelf in your freezer. If you have a larger chest style freezer we will reuse an old grocery bag put them all in there and label the bag with a date. Then stick them in your chest freezer until you need them.
How long will will frozen squash stay good?
We always recommend abiding by FDA standards for food safety. We have found that squash can stay high quality up to a year after freezing!
How do you thaw frozen squash?
Easy-peasy! Just pull your pre-portioned bag out of the freezer and put it into the fridge over night. They will usually thaw by morning and be ready for whatever recipe you are making.
You can also stick them in the microwave but they tend to come out a bit soggy. You can mitigate this by using a steamer but it's still kinda iffy.
For best results, use a stove top steamer after thawing overnight.
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