Summer squash is a delicious vegetable that is abundance throughout the latter part of summer. It’s usually readily available throughout the year in any supermarket but the fresh from the farm kind is always so yummy.
There are actually several varieties of summer squash. Zucchini is a very popular type of summer squash as is it yellow, slightly chubbier counterpart. A noteworthy fact to keep in mind with regard to zucchini is that bigger does not mean better. Zucchini can grow to baseball bat proportions but that will never give you the tastiest squash. The larger the zucchini the more watery and pithy.
Don’t be afraid of other varieties that may be found at farmers market however. They all share the same thin edible skin and mild flavor. Pattypan squash for instance is becoming more and more popular. In fact, my first interaction with patty pan squash was at a local farm to table restaurant and it was delicious. It has a slightly sweet but mild flavor that works well with all types of seasoning and recipes.
Even though the most common types of summer squash can be found year round at the grocery store, it just doesn’t have the same summery freshness as in season produce. During the summer, summer squash of all varieties is so tasty, inexpensive, and readily available it makes total sense to stock up and preserve it for the winter months ahead.
Can You Freeze Summer Squash?
Summer squash can be easily frozen for enjoyment throughout the cold winter months.
How To Freeze Summer Squash
Summer squash is a vegetable with a high water content. Therefore, it is expected that the squash will be mushy when thawed, however, the flavor is not compromised with attention to a few key steps.
It’s always important to thoroughly wash the outside of the squash to remove and dirt or bacteria.
Cut off the ends of the squash and discard. Cut the rest of the summer squash into slices about ¼ inch thick.
At this point, the slices can be placed directly into freezer safe bags – filling approximately half full. Be sure to remove as much air as possible and seal tightly. Summer squash frozen without blanching will last for about 4 months in the freezer.
Alternate Step 3:
If you wish to keep the summer squash in the freezer for longer than 4 months its best to blanch the slices first.
How To Blanch Summer Squash
- Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with cold water and plenty of ice. I find it to be extremely easy to place a colander into the ice bath.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Put the summer squash slices into the boiling water for 2 minutes.
- Quickly remove the squash from the boiling water and place it directly into the colander in the ice bath.
- Give the summer squash a minute in the ice water to stop the cooking process entirely.
- Remove the colander to the sink and drain the squash.
- Lay the squash slices on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry with paper towel.
At this point, the squash is blanched and can be put into freezer safe bags. Remove as much air as possible to protect against freezer burn and seal tightly. Label and place in the freezer.
Blanching the summer squash kills enzymes naturally found in the vegetables which will contribute to the destruction of flavor and texture. This is why squash which is blanched before freezing will last longer in the freezer. That doesn’t mean the unblanched summer squash won’t freezer well. It does great – just doesn’t last as long.
How To Thaw Summer Squash
Simply remove the bags of frozen summer squash from the freezer and place in the refrigerator. The squash will be thawed in a few hours and ready for use in recipes or as a simply side dish anytime of the year.