From Freezer to Fork: Squash

2011 was a great year for most of the vegetables we grow here, and squash was no exception. Of course, even in a bad year the summer squashes usually produce like gangbusters! Ours made a little over 92 pounds of squash last year from our 6 plants. We donated about a third of it to local food pantries, but that still left us with a lot of squash.

2011 summer squashes (click on any image to enlarge)

To help deal with the abundance, last year I came up with at least 8 Things To Do With Zucchini. Idea #6 was to freeze it, and we sliced and froze quite a bit of zucchini as well as yellow squash. Both find their way into a lot of our winter soups. But I also like to fix it as a side dish. I find the frozen slices cook up much the same as the fresh ones do – only faster.

I usually saute the summer squashes in a little oil until they are tender, add a little seasoning, and that’s it – they are ready to eat. Sometimes I use olive oil, sometimes butter, but last night I cooked some of the frozen yellow squash and I used – gasp – bacon grease! A spoonful of bacon grease gives the squash a wonderful flavor. Of course you could actually put some bacon itself in with the squash too. Onions also go nicely with squash, as do tomatoes. And of course herbs add flavor without adding calories. The combinations are endless!

Right now we’ve got some green garlic growing in containers, and I pulled a single plant to season the squash. The green garlic gave it a mild garlicky taste, and the green leaves added some color. If you’ve never eaten green garlic, you’re missing a real treat in my opinion.

green garlic fresh from the garden

I think the cooked frozen squash is almost as good as fresh. To freeze the sliced squash, I first blanch it for three minutes, cool it in cold water, then drain it and spread it out in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer. I only use the tender skinned, younger squashes for frozen slices.

sauteed yellow squash with green garlic

If you wind up with a bumper crop of summer squash this year, you might try freezing some of it. It’s a great way to make it disappear from your kitchen counter, and it makes for a quick and easy dish from the freezer.

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12 Responses to From Freezer to Fork: Squash

  1. Robin says:

    Thanks for sharing how you freeze your squash. The only way I freeze it is fried. I’m definitely going to freeze some this way this year.

    • Dave says:

      It’s pretty versatile. It makes some good casserole dishes too (my mom was always making squash casseroles). These days I’m more likely to make something simpler.

  2. Lynda says:

    I have never summer frozen squash…nor have a canned it…I was always afraid it would turn to a mushy mess when I tried to cook it. Thank you for this post…I will be freezing my excess summer squash this year.

  3. Jenny says:

    I never tried to freeze squash before – does it get mushy when it gets defrosted? or do you toss it on the skillet still frozen?

    • Dave says:

      It does get a little mushy when thawed, so I toss it in the skillet while frozen. The squash thaws quickly, water comes out, then cooks off, and by that time the squash is done!

  4. Jaime Haney says:

    I like to mince it and stuff it in a freezer ziplock and when I want to use it, just break a hunk off and saute it up with onion to go in other dishes such as omelets and I love to hide it this way in my spaghetti sauce from my kid 😉

    I also found a delicious way to eat it fresh was on the grill sliced about 1/4 inch thick with a little olive oil and greek seasoning. Yummy!

  5. Lou Murray's Green World says:

    I thought that summer squash got too mushy when frozen. But it would still be good in soups and casseroles. I may give that a try this summer, should I be so lucky as to have a surplus. The last two years, my summer squash crops have been a bust. I must be America’s worst gardener. I mean, everybody can grow squash.

  6. Marcia says:

    I froze zucchini last summer and have been throwing it into spaghetti sauce. I think after reading how you cook it I’ll try serving it as a side dish. When I froze it I sliced it into spears and froze them on cookie sheets then into ziplock bags. I didn’t blanch it at all.

  7. I do freeze squash occasionally, but usually bury it in sauces, or zucchini breads, as I expected, like Lou, that the squash would be a bit more mushy when thawed. I might have to trying whizzing it around a pan with some green garlic instead to see how it is, as we have plenty of garlic growing at the moment (and I haven’t finished using last year’s crop!).

  8. kelli says:

    i agree, frozen squash makes a delicious side dish!

  9. Pingback: From Freezer To Fork: More Summer Squash Ideas | Our Happy Acres

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