Preserving Summer Squash
Summer squash should be preserved soon after harvest, especially if it will not be eaten in one to two weeks. There are three safe methods of preserving summer squash.
Freezing Summer Squash
Blanching summer squash before freezing is crucial if you desire a superior product. Blanching is a process that stops or slows the action of enzymes in a vegetable or fruit. Unblanched vegetables or fruits can develop off-colors, off-flavors, and toughness. Properly blanching and freezing squash can be done easily in these steps:
- Wash and cut squash to the desired size.
- Fill large blanching pot with water about 3/4 full.
- Bring to a rolling boil.
- Fill inside colander of blanching pot with squash.
- Lower into boiling water slices or chunks for 3 minutes and grated for 1-2 minutes.
- Plunge hot squash into ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Leave in ice water for the same amount of time it was blanched.
- Drain thoroughly.
- Place in freezer bags or containers.
- Put in freezer.
Pickling Summer Squash
Most food preservation experts agree that the only safe way to can summer squash is by pickling it. Squash, a low-acid food, requires long processing to prevent botulism. Long processing also produces mushy, tasteless squash. Use proven recipes for squash pickling.
Dehydrating Summer Squash
A quick and simple way to enjoy summer squash is by dehydrating. Squash chips are delicious as a snack or can be stored, rehydrated, and used in recipes.
Preserving Winter Squash
The greatest pleasures a gardener experiences may come months after harvest. Winter squash can be preserved safely for one year or perhaps more. There are a few methods of preserving them.
Canning Winter Squash
When canning winter squash use only ripe, unblemished fruit. Canning only cubed winter squash is recommended. Follow the instructions in reliable food preservation guidelines.
Freezing Winter Squash
Unlike summer squash, winter squash is thoroughly cooked before freezing. Simply, bake the squash until soft and let cool. Cut open and remove the seeds and pulp. Scoop out the squash and puree. Bag, label, and freeze the squash.
Dehydrating Winter Squash
Winter squash can be safely dehydrated. After washing, peeling and removing the seeds, cut into strips no larger than 1-inch wide and 1/8 inch thick. Blanch strips for three minutes over steam. Drain and pat dry. Dry squash in dehydrator until the strips are brittle.