How to freeze yellow squash
Few days back my neighbor tried freezing yellow squash and man did she make a mess out of it or what! The problem is summer squash have a very high water content, which makes freezing them a little tricky; so to help her and many others like her out there, wondering what to do with the surplus yellow squash harvest, here are some very easy to follow steps on how to freeze yellow squash.
Picking the squash: Pick the squash when they are just ready…i.e., firm to hold and perfect color. Now select the best ones from the lot, this means separate the squash with any kind of bruising, blemish, or visible signs of infestation from the perfectly healthy ones.
Preparing the squash: Clean the squash in cold tap water, pat dry, and cut ½” from both ends. Now cut the squash in small pieces. You can dice them, shred them, slice them, or chop then – that’s absolutely left to you to decide. I personally prefer to shred the squash. Some people peel the squash before cutting, you might choose to do so, however I feel peeling makes the squash soggy. Use your discretion. Remember to be very quick, for if you leave the cut squash to sit for more time they tend to discolor.
Blanching: Again blanching is not absolutely necessary. Blanching deactivates the enzymes that discolor and spoil the squash, but blanching also tends to make the vegetable soggier. So, blanch the squash if you intend to store them for more than 7 to 8 months. However, if you are going to use them off quick then you can skip this step. To blanch the cut squash, first keep a bowl of boiling water ready, transfer the squash into the water and allow the squash to stay for exactly 3mins, use a stop watch if required. After 3 mins drain the hot water and pour ice cold water onto the squash immediately – the thermal shock will destroy superficial microbes and all enzymes.
Freezing: Now pat dry the squash and transfer them onto perforated trays (use colander if you do not have perforated trays) in a single layer. Place these trays in your freezer and allow the yellow squash to freeze.
Bagging and batch labeling: Once the yellow squash are frozen firm transfer them into small single serving sized freezer bags. Thawing and refreezing with make the squash all the more soggy, so do not freeze in large quantities. If you have a vacuum sealer, use it to remove all the air out, if you don’t have one –worry not you can always suck out all the air using a simple straw. Removing the air is necessary to prevent freezer burns. Once done with the sealing, label the bags with the name of the product and the freezing date. Yellow squash thus frozen will stay well up to 9 months to 1 year.
Thawing: Since thawed squash tend to be soggy I prefer to use them in cooking rather than eating them raw. So what I do is just transfer the frozen squash into my cooking pot. However, if you want to thaw your frozen squash you can either do it in the refrigerator, or just allow them to sit on the counter top, or use the defrost option of your microwave. On thawing squash tend to let out a lot of water; remember to discard it off before using the squash.
So that’s how I freeze yellow squash, if anyone has a better or easier process please let me know…I can always use some tips to improve the quality of my frozen squash.
Image credits: google.com