My Aunt gave me this huge patty pan squash and I started looking up ways to use it up. Well then my husband told me that he absolutely does not like squash and didn’t want me to add it to our dinners or anything. 🙁 So, I figured I would probably add it to my soup that I make for lunch sometimes and needed to freeze it to make it last longer. This was pretty easy to do. It’s just all the chopping and then the dishes when I was done but at least they were easy to wash! 😉
The reason squash cannot be just chopped and added to the freezer is because it contains enzymes and bacteria that, over time, break down and destroy nutrients, change the color, flavor, and texture during freezing. To destroy the enzymes, squash requires blanching. Blanching (in this case) is a cooking process using a quick plunge into boiling water to remove enzymes and bacteria, and then a quick plunge into ice water to slow the cooking process.
Step 2: Chop the Squash – If it’s yellow squash or zucchini, cut off the ends and chop the rest at 1/2″ thick slices. If it’s a patty pan squash, I just cut out the stem and chopped up the rest into chunks like in the picture to the right. Note: You don’t want to leave the squash sitting (after it’s cut-up) for more than 1/2 an hour, otherwise it will start to discolor.
Step 4: Blanching – Add the chopped squash to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, covered. I left it on high and stirred occasionally. Note: If you have a ton of squash, you may need to blanch it in batches. You can use the same water each time.
Step 5: Cooling the Squash – Get a large bowl and add ice and cold water. Remove the squash from the hot water using a slotted spoon and add to the ice water. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Cooling the squash quickly prevents overcooking. Add more ice as needed. Drain the water using a colander and let sit for a few minutes. I then spread the squash out over the cutting board to let dry for a bit.
Step 6: Freezing – I just used ziplock freezer bags. I put about 1 cup (or maybe a little more since I didn’t measure) per bag and marked the bags. It should be good for up to 9 months in a regular freezer. Make sure to get as much air out of the bags as possible before closing them up.
When you pull the squash out of the freezer it will be mushy after it thaws, so it’s best to use when cooking instead of raw. You can let it sit out to thaw or just use it frozen with what you are cooking. I plan to just add it to my homemade soup I make for lunch sometimes with my homemade chicken broth.