In Season: Freezing Zucchini

IMG_5665This has been a great year for summer squash of all kinds. I have harvested my own and gotten free squash for others of all shapes and sizes. We have been eating zucchini bread, fried squash, roasted squash, stuffed and baked squash, and I have been freezing squash to be eaten this winter in soups and sauces–I could use another chest freezer!

IMG_5667The more slender squash I have been slicing and blanching. I wash and then slice the squash into uniform pieces so that all the squash pieces cook at the same rate. I IMG_5668add the squash to a wire sieve I have submerged in a large pot of boiling water. (The water is at a rolling boil when I add the squash.) I cook (blanch) the squash for two minutes and IMG_5672then lift the whole sieve out of the boiling water and dump the vegetables into another sieve submerged in a large bowl of ice water. (I usually do two cups of sliced vegetable at a time.) The ice water stops the cooking process so that I am freezing partially cooked squash. You don’t want mush. Transfer the cooled and IMG_5669drained squash to plastic bags and freeze. Try to get as much air out of the bags as possible before closing them to avoid freezer burn.IMG_5673

IMG_5680IMG_5682The more mature, baseball bat-size squash I have been grating and freezing which is probably the easiest way to preserve the abundance! Wash the squash and split it down the middle the long way, scoop out any seeds, the “meaty” portion that remains is the part you will grate. (You don’t need to peel the vegetable.) I use the coarse side of my trusty box grater. You could also use a mandolin-type grater or a food processer with a grater blade if you are dealing with really big quantities. No cooking is necessary, just stuff twice as much grated summer squash as you will need for your favorite recipes into freezer bags or boxes. Once thawed, drain off liquid before using in any baking recipe.

IMG_5683Don’t say no to free squash. Freeze it for when the snow drifts deep and you need a touch of summer. Begonia

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