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.
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.
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.
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.