Squash is a versatile vegetable. As food, it can be made into a variety of dishes like soups, fritters, and even main dishes. It can be cooked in different ways, roast, broil or even blanch. As a crop, it is economical. There are different varieties and can grow in different seasons. There are summer and winter squash species making it a valuable crop for farmers. Each specie of squash have their own taste and texture. With that regard, how can you preserve a specific type like yellow squashes effectively to last longer when they are not in season?
A good way to preserve out of season produce is through freezing. There are a variety of squashes. Winter squashes include the likes of pumpkins, butternut and acorns while the summer squashes include zucchinis and yellow squash varieties like crookneck and straightneck squashes. Freezing or doing preserving method while in season is a smart move especially when you have more of the produce than what you can consume.
Can you freeze yellow squash?
Yellow squash is a specific kind of summer squash. Summer squashes differs from winter squashes by having a thinner and more delicate skin than those that can be found in cooler months like Butternut.
Some yellow squash varieties include Yellow Crookneck and Straightneck squash. Both vegetables have that distinct yellow skin with varying textures – it may be bumpy or smooth.
Thin skin is a prominent feature of the summer squash varieties. It can be sliced as is and cooked with the skin on.
One of the popular methods of preserving squashes in general is pressure canning them. But, this practice is not anymore recommended. The high temperatures required in this procedure makes the flesh of the vegetable into mush and the cooking process is uneven due to the uneven texture.
Drying is also an alternative preservation method. However, it is not the best and is less efficient than freezing, producing about ¾ pound of dried squash from 10 pounds of fresh produce.
The best among the different methods are a combination of freezing and vacuum packaging. The vacuum pack ensures that no moisture will be formed during the freezing process. It can extend the shelf life of both frozen and dried produce.
How to freeze yellow squash?
Summer squash varieties like yellow squash is a very versatile vegetable. You can turn it into soups and even main dishes. Here are a step-by-step guide to extend the shelf life of this vegetable considerably through freezing.
- Choose a young and fresh squash. Pick those without any bruises and still has tender skin.
- Wash and dry it thoroughly and then cut into smaller pieces preferably ½ inch slices.
- Blanch or submerge the squash into hot water for 3 minutes to slightly cook it before cooling. This will tenderize the vegetable and will make for a more pleasant texture and will preserve the taste when thawed.
- Drain the water and dry it thoroughly before packaging.
- Prepare freezer proof containers and pack it near the brim leaving an inch of space at the top. Pack the squash pieces close together as much as possible to avoid spaces where moisture can get trapped and might shorten the shelf life of the frozen vegetable.
- Keep it away from raw meat and poultry to avoid contamination.
Yellow squash recipes
For a quick and easy straight to the point dish where the main star is the yellow squash itself, try this vegetarian recipe. It is a delicate dish that prominently features the nutty taste of the fresh yellow squash.
This is for a more savory dish but still sticks to that healthy theme. A tasty and indulgent comfort food that you will not be guilty of try this baked squash with cheese, zucchini and onion.
Why not try this crunchy and refreshing finger food? The soft texture and nutty taste of the squash contrasts beautifully with the crispy panko exterior. It is a great snack or starter that will surely impress your friends.