Bumper crop of squash or a sale at your grocery store beg the question: “can you freeze squash?” Indeed you can, read on to learn how.

Did you have a bumper crop of squash in your garden this year? Were colorful squash on sale at your grocery store and you over-zealously threw a pile in your cart? Fortunately, too much of a good thing is a good thing, since you can easily preserve this nutrient-rich bounty with little time and effort.

The good news is, squash lends well to freezing. However, prep for winter and summer varieties have slight differences. Squash is part of the gourd family, and it’s designated into two classifications: winter squash and summer squash.

Varieties of winter squash include acorn, buttercup, butternut, Hubbard, kabocha, spaghetti, and turban. These hearty varieties are mainly used for casseroles, main or side dishes, and soups. Process winter squash with a deep color and a hard rind. Once cooked or steamed, the squash is ready for your freezer.

Summer squash includes pattypan, tromboncino, zucchini, and yellow squash varieties. They’re a delicious, ingredient in vegetable lasagna, stir fry, creamed soup, and pasta. A puree or grated squash (especially zucchini) can also be used in baked goods. Grate, slice, or puree the flesh of young, tender summer squash for freezing.

can you freeze squash

Image used under Creative Commons from Tony Austin

Is freezing really a great method to preserve squash? Freezing is certainly beneficial for longer storage times, and many recipes call for pre-cooked squash. Winter squash can stay fresh in a cool atmosphere (about 50 degrees F) covered in newspaper in a single layer for 4 to 8 months.

Winter squash can stay fresh in a cool atmosphere (about 50 degrees F) covered in newspaper in a single layer for 4 to 8 months. However, squash is a larger item, so it may take up precious storage room that you don’t have or can’t spare for several months.

Sometimes, it’s just easier to process batches all at once if you’ve grown a large amount from your own garden or found a ridiculously low price per pound at the grocery store. That means you’ve only got to haul out your kitchen appliances once. Also, you only have to deal with the mess and dishes of the processing chore now (so you’ll thank yourself later).

Zucchini is an especially popular, healthier alternative ingredient to butter or oil in muffins, brownies, and cakes. According to Wilton.com, “Cooked mashed squashes…will replace half if not all the fat in most baked desserts, and are particularly suited for muffins, quick bread, gingerbread, fruit cakes and other dense cakes.

Squash or sweet potatoes are an excellent choice if the recipe calls for cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cloves…! You can use 3/4 as much of the vegetable puree as the total amount of fat called for in the recipe…”

How to Freeze Squash?

Freezing Winter Squash

When steamed and cooked winter squash has cooled, it can be frozen.

Preparing the Squash

First, wash the rind, then cut the squash in half, taking out the seeds. Place the halves face-down into a shallow baking tray filled with approximately an inch of water.

Cook time is about 6 minutes in the microwave per pound of squash or 40 or 45 minutes in a 400 degree F oven.

Next, scoop out the pulp from the rind, and mash it with a fork. (Use a food processor or immersion [hand] blender to puree the squash for soups or baby food. Pour the puree directly into ice cube trays for baby food portions.)

Packing the Squash for Freezing

Put the squash into freezer containers or plastic freezer bags. For frozen summer squash, gently scrub the rind. Cut it into 1/2-inch slices. Blanch the slices for 3 minutes then cool, drain, and package.

Freezing Summer Squash 

Preparing the Squash

Since summer squash or zucchini is an alternative to oil in baking, freeze it back. First, wash the zucchini and peel off the skin. Grate the zucchini flesh and blanch it.

Packing the Squash for Freezing

Transfer the grated zucchini to freezer containers or bags, but keep them open while you place them in a pan or bowl of cool or ice water. Seal containers or bags after they’ve cooled.

Give the squash a 1/2-inch head space in its containers. The recommended maximum freezer storage time is 12 months.

How to Defrost Frozen Squash?

To thaw, place the squash in your refrigerator until completely thawed. When thawed, summer squash is mushy, so discard any extra liquid.

Use frozen squash in baked goods or thaw it quickly by running the freezer container under hot water. Use thawed squash within 2-3 days, and refreezing is not recommended.

Summary

Although raw squash is always available, it’s nice to know that you can store your supply in the freezer and enjoy this vegetable whenever you like. Now that you know how can you freeze squash, there is no need to worry about extending the shelf life of this vegetable for future cooking.