If you love squash, and want to save some of it for the winters, you can freeze, both, summer and winter squash for a longer period of time. Tastessence provides you with some easy ways to freeze squash, freeze raw squash, fresh ones, and some ready-to-cook frozen squash for frying.
Did You Know?
Chinese people utilized Squash seeds in traditional medicine to get rid of parasitic diseases like Schistosomiasis and Ascariasis.
Though it is considered a vegetable, botanically speaking, it is actually a fruit because it contains seeds of the plant. Squash as a vegetable is completely edible, the seeds can be tossed in various salads; its leaves, tendrils, and shoots can be consumed too. There are two types of Squash namely: Summer squash which includes Yellow squash, Crookneck, White Scallop, Zucchini, Pattypan, Straightneck, etc., and Winter Squash which includes Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti, Hubbard, Turban, Kabocha, etc.
Fall is the time when you want to freeze certain vegetables and fruits which are available only during summer. Imagine enjoying zucchini casseroles and zucchini bread during the winters, mouth-watering, eh? Freezing squash is as simple as the sequence―1, 2, and 3 plus you can also freeze summer squash puree or winter squash like butternut in the form of chunks and cubes.
Let’s have a look at all the different ways to freeze you favorite fruit/vegetable which you can use during winter.
Raw Summer Squash without blanching
Step 1: Wash the squash gently under running water, and lightly scrub them clean, either with your fingers or a vegetable brush.
Step 2: Use a vegetable peeler or a knife to get rid of the external skin of squash. An easier way would be to cut the rounded ends of the squash so that the ends become flat. Next, hold the vegetable in an upright position on the cutting board, and start peeling the skin, continue doing so till you remove the entire skin.
Step 3: Now you have two options: you can grate the flesh or cut it into small pieces. Either way, remove the seeds when you come across it while grating or cutting.
Step 4: Grab a freezer-safe plastic container or a plastic bag, and place the shredded squash into it. Remember to leave 1/2 inch empty space at the top in the container or bag. It is very important because they tend to expand during the freezing process.
Step 5: Place the container or bag in the freezer until you are ready to use it. It should last for a good 12 months at least.
Raw Winter Squash without cooking
Step 1: Wash and pat dry the squash. Again use a peeler to remove the skin of the vegetable; you can follow the same steps as described above.
Step 2: Take a serrated knife, and start cutting evenly sized pieces, you can cut them into round shapes or cubes, totally your call. Size can be 1 inch, but it depends if you want really tiny pieces or big ones.
Step 3: Grab a baking sheet and spread out all the pieces evenly on it, avoid putting them in layers. Put this sheet in the freezer and let them freeze for few hours. But make sure that the pieces don’t touch each other, and there is a safe amount of distance between them.
Step 4: Remove the tray from the freezer, now transfer those pieces in a plastic container or bag. Again, save some space at the top of the containers.
Step 5: Place the containers in the freezer, and use them when required. You can directly add those pieces, or you can thaw them before using. Don’t forget to mention the current date on the container or bag.
Yellow Squash for frying
Step 1: Wash and dry the vegetable, and slice the squash in the same manner.
Step 2: Cut the squash into round or any desired shape. Once cut, season them with pepper, salt, or any other seasoning you prefer, and later, sprinkle some flour.
Step 3: Shake off any excess flour, and place them on the freezing paper that is in a container and keep it in the freezer.
Step 4: When you want to use them for frying, simply remove the desired quantity. They may thaw while cooking, but make sure they don’t thaw prior to frying because they will soften due to moisture and the flour that is on them.
Cooked Winter Squash
Step 1: Wash, peel the squash and cut them into halves, cubes, or slices. It all depends on the size, if you are freezing butternut squash, then, you can easily get away with slices or cubes; however, if you are working on a smaller squash like Acron cutting them into halves or slices would be a better option.
Step 2: You have two options to cook the squash before freezing it. You can cook it in a microwave or on the stove. It is entirely up to you. You need to cook till it becomes really soft. Place the cut pieces in a microwave container filled with 2 inches of water. Cook for 15 minutes on high flame, and check to see if it has become soft and is easy to scoop out.
Step 3: Take a pan, fill it with ½ inch of water and cover it with a steam basket. Fill the basket with squash pieces, cover, and heat the water until it comes to a boil. Reduce the flame to low, and let it cook for 10 – 15 minutes.
Step 4: Separate the skin from the flesh using your fingers or a fork. Discard the waste skin and transfer the softened flesh in a bowl.
Step 5: Mash the content using a potato masher or a fork. Mash until it becomes smooth. You can also make a puree using a blender.
Step 6: Let it cool down for a while, once it has cooled, put the mashed or pureed squash in a container or plastic bag; make sure to keep some head space. Alternatively, you can fill your ice cube trays with mashed squash, and once frozen, you can keep the cubes in a container and freeze them. The squash will last you about a year without losing flavor.
The process of freezing various types of winter squash is the same, and the steps for freezing different types of summer squash is similar. You can use frozen squash to make pasta sauce, squash casserole, and vegetable soups or even as a dressing. The options are endless, enjoy using frozen squash in your dishes!