Knowing how to freeze squash can help you retain the taste of summer during the cold winter months. When you freeze vegetables fresh from your garden, you not only retain as much of the nutritional value as possible, but you also keep the delicate flavors. Because squash is abundant, it is a perfect vegetable for freezing. Anyone who's ever planted a garden knows there always seem to be too many squash ripening at the same time.
Know How You'll Use the Squash First: The squash family includes everything from acorn squash and butternut squash to summer squash and zucchini squash, and all can be frozen in the same manner. Because squash will lose its shape and become mushy once it's been frozen, the best way to freeze squash is to grate it or chop it so that it's already prepared for the casserole, bread or whatever you will be using it for. For instance, zucchini should be grated and placed into freezer bags with just enough in each bag for one zucchini bread recipe. When you thaw the zucchini, drain the excess liquid before adding the vegetable to the recipe.
Preparing the Squash: Choose only prime vegetables. Squash that has been nicked or has blemishes of any type should be discarded. Do not use squash that is not firm or does not have a uniform color, and do not use squash if the seeds have already turned brown or are in the process of turning brown.
Chopped or sliced squash will retain more flavor and color if you take the time to blanch it. Proper blanching time for squash is about three minutes. Make sure the water is boiling for three minutes after the squash slices have been added. When the three minutes are up, use a slotted spoon to remove the squash from the kettle, and place it into the freezer bag. Remove the air by inserting a drinking straw and drawing the air out of the bag just before you seal it.
The Freezing Process: Be prepared to freeze the squash as soon as the squash is picked. Wash the squash, slice or grate it and measure it in increments of two to four cups per freezer bag, depending on which squash recipe you plan to use later. It's also convenient to label the baggie with the name of the recipe.
Frozen grated zucchini squash that has not been blanched is best when used within four months. Sliced squash will last about eight months.
Attention cooks: beware of the dreaded freezer burn. Keep close track of what you have because you don't want to open up a meal for reheating only to discover that it is inedible.
If you're tired of one bad apple spoiling the whole bushel, consider learning how to freeze apples. That way, you can enjoy the fruit all year long.