Squash is a prolific producer in most gardens, and our garden at Happy Acres is no exception. It’s so productive that my wife is fond of saying that we could feed the world if everyone planted some squash. I have to say I can’t argue with that one bit. I usually have plenty of extra squash to share with friends and neighbors, and with a couple of local food pantries.
Prolific squash plants often leave backyard gardeners wondering what to do with all that bounty of squash. When it’s coming on faster than we can eat it or give it away, we freeze a lot of our summer squash for later use. I slice up both yellow squash and zucchini and then blanch it before freezing. I also grate up summer squash and freeze without blanching. Today I want to share some ideas of how we use the frozen squash.
A couple of years ago I shared an idea for how I saute frozen squash. That’s one way to use it, and though the frozen squash loses some of it’s texture it still has good flavor. It can be seasoned up the same way you would season fresh summer squash. That in the below photo was prepared simply with a little olive oil and green garlic plus some salt and pepper.
Another way we use frozen squash is to add it to soups. There’s no need to thaw the squash first either. It’s a staple for our vegetable soups, and I even include it in a soup mix I freeze along with snap beans, carrots, cabbage, celery, onions and other seasonal vegetables we might have ready in the garden. Any of the summer squashes work well, and what a great way to enjoy the summer garden on a cold winter’s day. Add a little homemade bread or a crusty multigrain roll to a bowl of vegetable soup, and you’ve got a meal!
Frozen squash can also be added to homemade stocks and broth. Added along with aromatic vegetables like onions, celery and carrots, it will add a subtle flavor to the stock. I also like to add frozen squash to chicken soups. Add it at the beginning of cooking and the squash will cook down and mostly disappear in the soup. Add it near the end of cooking time if you want the squash to stay intact.
One of my new favorite things to do with frozen zucchini is make smoothies. My Chocolate Zucchini Smoothie is a popular post on Pinterest, and a popular choice here at HA when weather is warmer. The frozen zucchini adds body to the smoothie, and is a great way to use up lots of the prolific zucchini.
Another of my favorite uses for zucchini is to make zucchini bread. I’ve used a lot of different recipes over the years, but my current favorite is Spelt Chocolate Zucchini Bread. This recipe makes a great-tasting and moist whole-grain quick bread, or use a muffin pan and make individual muffins.
I make the muffins most often, because they freeze well and make a wonderful individual snack or dessert. The frozen grated zucchini works well for this recipe, and I thaw the grated zucchini completely and add it to the batter without draining.
Frozen squash can also be added to rice pilafs and other grain dishes. The frozen grated squash can be thawed and added to casseroles, meatloaf, frittatas, and sauces for pasta. You can drain the liquid if you like, but for many dishes you can add it in liquid and all. After all, the liquid is just water that has come out of the squash after freezing. If you had used fresh squash, all that liquid would go in the dish. King Arthur even has a recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake that would be a good use for the frozen grated zucchini.
That’s a look at some of the things we like to do with frozen squash. What about you all, do you freeze squash, and if so what do you do with it? I’m always looking for new ideas, so please share your thoughts and kitchen creations!