Summer squashes are a unique vegetable that can be used instead of courgettes in most dishes. But, as the name suggests, they’re unavailable all year round, so how do you ensure you always have a stock of them? Are they freezable?
Can You Freeze Summer Squash?
Yes, you can freeze summer squash for up to 12 months. Slice them up as you usually would, blanch and then freeze on a baking sheet. Once solid, tip them into freezer bags or containers and return them to the freezer.
How to Freeze Summer Squash
The method for freezing summer squash is very similar to the method I advise using when freezing other similar vegetables such as courgettes:
- Slice the Squash
Cut the squash into slices about 1/2 inch thick using a sharp knife. Depending on your preference and how you plan to use them later, you can dice them or cut them into half-moons.
- Blanch the Squash
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the squash slices and boil for 1 minute.
- Ice Bath
After boiling, immediately transfer the squash slices to a bowl of ice water using a slotted spoon. This stops the cooking process and helps to preserve the texture and flavour of the squash.
- Dry the Squash
Drain the cooled squash slices and pat them dry with clean kitchen towels. Removing as much water as possible is essential to prevent ice crystals from forming on the squash in the freezer, which will lead to freezer burn.
- Freeze on a Baking Sheet
Arrange the squash slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, ensuring they’re not touching. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for a few hours.
- Transfer to Freezer Bags or Containers
Once the squash slices are frozen, you can transfer them to freezer bags or containers. Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bags to reduce freezer burn. Label the bags or containers with the date.
- Store in the Freezer
The squash can now be stored in the freezer. It will maintain its best quality for about 9-12 months.
Although it would be safe to do, blanching will extend the freezer life of the squash whilst also helping it to maintain its flavour, texture and colour.
How Long Can You Freeze Summer Squash?
Summer squash can be stored in the freezer for 9 to 12 months while maintaining its flavour.
This timeframe is a standard guideline for many frozen veggies. This is about quality, not safety. Frozen summer squash, as long as it has been continuously frozen, will remain safe to eat for years, if not forever…
Remember, the quality of frozen squash also depends on the quality of the squash when it was frozen. Always choose fresh, ripe squash for freezing to get the best result.
Fresh summer squash can last in the refrigerator for about 1 to 2 weeks. Once cooked, it should be eaten within 3 to 5 days.
How Do You Defrost Summer Squash?
In many cases, frozen summer squash does not need to be defrosted before being used in a recipe such as soups, stews, stir-fries, and casseroles.
If you do decide you need to defrost it then the best method to use is the slow-and-steady option. In the fridge, overnight. Simply remove the quantity of squash you need, pop it onto a plate and then allow it to thaw slowly overnight.
Yes, you can defrost summer squash in the microwave. Use the defrost function, if available, and stir or flip the pieces every couple of minutes to ensure even thawing.
Can You Refreeze Summer Squash?
As a general rule, refreezing thawed vegetables, including summer squash, is not recommended.
Refreezing can lead to a loss of texture and flavour. If the squash was not appropriately thawed and reached a temperature that could promote bacterial growth, refreezing and thawing it again could increase the risk of foodborne illness.
Does Summer Squash Freeze Well?
Yes, summer squash can freeze well if properly prepared and stored.
The process of blanching before freezing helps to preserve the squash’s colour, texture, and flavour. Additionally, freezing individual pieces on a baking sheet before packaging prevents them from sticking together.
However, it’s important to note that freezing can alter the texture of summer squash, making it softer. So, while frozen summer squash works great when it is hidden in a dish – such as soup – it might not work so well when it needs to be the star ingredient.
Choose Your Squashes Carefully
For the best results, freeze young, tender summer squash. Older, larger squash can be tough and have large, hard seeds that don’t freeze well.
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