Summer is in full swing and that means enjoying the bounty of the season, including yellow squash! Yellow squash is a type of gourd that’s often used in cooking. It’s best used in stews and soups because the vegetable adds richness to the broth. From the rind to the flesh, every part of the yellow squash can be eaten. Although yellow squash can be enjoyed all year long, how do you keep the vegetable for long-term storage? Can you freeze yellow squash?
As long as the gourd is prepped and packed properly, you can freeze yellow squash. That goes for fresh, blanched or cooked yellow squash! Yellow squash has an extremely short shelf life. It only keeps for a week in the fridge. That’s because yellow squash contains enzymes that break down quickly at room temperature.
Image used under Creative Commons from Dominique Pelletier
By freezing the vegetable, yellow squash could keep up to 3 months. However, we recommend consuming yellow squash as soon as possible for optimal flavor. Even when you freeze yellow squash, there’s no guarantee that the enzymes won’t break down and cause flavor or texture changes. Storing the gourd could also reduce its nutritional content.
There are two ways to prep yellow squash for freezing. You could either freeze the yellow squash uncooked or blanched. While it’s much easier to freeze yellow squash without cooking, blanching the vegetable will extend its shelf life. Here is a step-by-step guide on how can you freeze yellow squash:
If you’re freezing whole and uncooked yellow squash, we don’t recommend cutting the gourd into pieces prior to freezing. The rind will protect the yellow squash from freezer burn and preserve its natural texture and/or flavor.
To start, wash the yellow squash in running water. Remove any sticky part or residues then pat dry with paper towels. Get a large, heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and place the yellow squash inside. Squeeze as much air as you can before sealing and then write the storage date on the label. Stick in the freezer and you’re done.
If you’d like to blanch the yellow squash first prior to freezing, wash the gourd and pat dry with paper towels. On a cutting board, slice the ends of the yellow squash, about ¼ inch on both ends. Heat a pot of water on the stove over high then place the yellow squash inside and blanch for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes of blanching, scoop the yellow squash out of the boiling water and into a bowl of ice water. This will stop the heat from cooking the yellow squash through. Leave the yellow squash completely submerged in ice water for 5 minutes or so. Drain the water using a colander and pat the yellow squash dry with paper towels. Finally, pack the yellow squash in a plastic resealable bag, squeezing out as much air as possible before sealing and sticking in the freezer.
Image used under Creative Commons from Quinn Dombrowski
To thaw frozen yellow squash, just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the yellow squash to thaw for several hours to overnight. Do not defrost the gourd at room temperature. The drastic change in temperature will alter the texture of the yellow squash!
Slow defrosting is key to maintaining the yellow squash’s original flavor and texture. Once the yellow squash is soft enough to be cut, just slice it according to the desired cut and it’s ready for cooking. Reheating the yellow squash is not necessary unless the gourd has been cooked in stews or soups. Just add the thawed yellow squash in the middle of cooking.
Yellow squash may be a delicate vegetable to freeze but as long as you prep and pack the gourd right, it will last for months in the freezer! Now that you know how can you freeze yellow squash, why not keep a stock of this healthy vegetable for future meals?