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How to Freeze Squash From Your Garden

Buster began cooking as a wee pup by watching his mother fix the kibble. He was hooked. He loves preparing—and writing about—food.

A fresh harvest of vibrant and hearty squash.

A fresh harvest of vibrant and hearty squash.

Freezing Squash Is Easy!

I love the ease of freezing squash. And let's face it—when your garden starts making zucchini, yellow squash, or pattypan squash, you're loaded with them.

Follow the directions below and you'll be able to enjoy all of that fresh squash goodness year-round.

What You'll Need

  • A large kettle of boiling water
  • A baking sheet, lined with paper towels
  • A slotted spoon
  • Freezer bags (I use quart-sized)
  • Squash!

How to Prepare Your Fresh Squash

What kind of squash can you use? Any of the varieties that are grown in summer: zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan, ball squash, etc.

After washing it thoroughly, cut off the blossom and stem ends, then cut the squash into rounds about 1/4 inch thick.

I've not mentioned how much squash you can do at a time because this recipe allows a small amount. I've put up as little as nine cups of squash, and as much as 15 quarts of squash at a time. That's what I love about this method—it allows me to put my squash into the freezer as soon as I pick it, whether that means a couple of hands full or a bushel full.

How To Blanch Squash

Why is blanching important? The process destroys an enzyme so that your squash will remain fresh and delicious in your freezer for months. You have to blanch squash before you can freeze it.

  1. Bring a large kettle of water to the boil.
  2. Drop the squash rounds into the boiling water, and blanch for about one minute. You'll know the squash is ready when it takes on a bright color. Do not overcook! Squash are a delicate vegetable, and they cook quickly. The goal is to simply blanch them, not fully cook them.
  3. I usually drop approximately 3 cups of squash at a time into the boiling water. Using your slotted spoon, remove the squash to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Let them drain.
  4. After the squash have drained, then put them into your (already labeled) freezer bags. I label my bags with the date and the type of squash. Once the bags are frozen, it's hard to tell what they are. If a friend gave me squash, I'll write their name on the bag, just so I'll know.

The Freezer

Clear out a space in your freezer where the bags of blanched squash can be carefully stacked. This is important! You want your bags to freeze in neat stacks.

When I first put the squash into my freezer, I put the bags willy-nilly into the freezer, and ended up with frozen bags that were oddly-shaped, and difficult to store. You'll be glad you took the time to stack the bags, so that they will take up as little room as is necessary. As any gardener knows, squash plants are quite prolific, and once you start harvesting, you've got tons of it. You'll be glad you took the time to make neat bags that store easily.

Once they're frozen, you can move them to another part of the freezer.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can you just vacuum seal and freeze squash from my garden?

Answer: After you have blanched the squash and let them come to room temperature, you could vacuum seal and freeze rather than using freezer bags.

Question: Do you need to put the squash in ice-cold water after blanching it?

Answer: Blanching sliced squash happens really fast. You'll notice the color brighten in seconds so I put it on a baking sheet to cool. Once, I tried putting it into iced water, but it seemed to make the squash soggy.

Question: What are some uses for the frozen squash? Soups, bread, casseroles? Can they be steamed and eaten, seasoned and buttered?

Answer: Yes, all of the above! You can use your frozen squash to make soups and casseroles, and (after squeezing out liquid) to add to bread. And yes, after defrosting, they're delicious warmed up and seasoned with herbs, salt, and butter.

Question: After the squash is dethawed can it be fried?

Answer: The squash is soft after thawing. You can make squash fritters, which are fried and very good. Mix the squash with egg, minced green onion, thyme and bread crumbs. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, then drop by spoonfuls into hot oil. They're delicious with sour cream, or aoli.

Question: Can you take the skins off the patty pan squash before you blanch them?

Answer: It isn't necessary. The skin of summer squash is tender and remains so after freezing.

Question: Can you freeze squash without blanching them?

Answer: Blanching squash kills an enzyme that would otherwise erode your squash in the freezer. The answer, then, is you will always want to blanch squash before freezing.

Question: Can I freeze raw squash?

Answer: No. Blanching kills an enzyme so that the squash remain fresh in your freezer.

Question: Can you freeze squash whole?

Answer: No, you can't freeze squash whole. Blanching squash before freezing is important because it kills an enzyme that helps preserve the vegetable. It's nearly impossible to blanch a whole squash... by the time the interior has been blanched, the squash is almost cooked.

You can blanch baby squash, then freeze them whole... but most people aren't willing to sacrifice the yield (by picking while they are very small) unless they plan to eat them fresh from the garden. I think freezing/preserving works best to handle all of the fully-grown bounty of the garden so you can enjoy it out of season.

Question: Can you freeze squash without blanching?

Answer: You must blanch squash before freezing. The blanching process inactivates an enzyme that can lead to off-flavors in frozen vegetables.

Question: Can I cook my squash then freeze it?

Answer: For summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash) it's best to blanch it as described in this article then freeze it. For winter squash -- the ones with a hard shell, you can fully cook those then put them into freezer bags.

Question: What is cutting into rounds?

Answer: Cutting the squash so the pieces are round, like coins. Think of a zucchini -- you cut crossways so each is a small round piece.

Question: After blanching the squash, can you put it in cornmeal to freeze before putting in the freezer bags?

Answer: I have no idea! I've never been asked this before. I assume you're asking so they could be taken out and put into the fryer?

If you regularly freeze squash each year (or if you're doing a batch early) why not try a few bags? Clearly mark them, then try after about a week or so. If you think of it, drop me a line and let me know your results. I'm curious.

Comments

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on August 03, 2020:

Hi Melody,

I've only canned green beans the old-fashioned way: in jars, in a pressure canner.

I'm glad the frozen squash recipe was helpful!

Buster

Melody on August 03, 2020:

Do you have a recipe to freeze green beans?

Your squash recipe was great and appreciate not having to blanch for 3 minutes. Thank you

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on June 18, 2020:

Hi Jennifer,

Squash will keep for one year in the freezer.

Some years, when I have a LOT, I've used frozen squash that was closer to 14 months old and it tasted fine. For highest quality and taste, try to use it within one year.

Thanks for reading!

Buster

Jennifer Mae Wammock on June 18, 2020:

How long can you keep the squash in the freezer? Because we have an over abundance and want to freeze what we can so if we are in the mood for summer squash this winter we have it. We fry them and also cream them.

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on November 21, 2019:

Hi Geri,

For winter squash, yes, you can bake the squash then scrape it out of the shell and put into freezer bags. For summer squash, you'll want to blanch it as described in this article.

Good luck!

Buster

Geri Deen on November 21, 2019:

Can i simply cook the squash, rake it out of its sheel then freeze it? I have a spaghetti squash, an acorn squash and a butternut squash.

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on March 18, 2019:

Hi Nettie,

Blanching kills an enzyme... and this is necessary for freezing squash so it will last in your freezer.

If the patty pans are small, and you can blanch them, then I think you'll be fine. But larger ones don't blanch well (they end up essentially cooked) and then you have mush when you defrost them.)

Good luck!

Buster

Nettie Erasmus on March 18, 2019:

Can i freeze whole patty pans

Darlene on June 28, 2017:

How long can you keep your frozen veggies in freezer

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on October 22, 2016:

Hi JC,

The blanching process as described in the hub is necessary to kill an enzyme so the squash stay good in the freezer. You could try slicing the pattypans in half, then blanching the halves. But this doesn't address what you'd like to do -- use a whole pattypan. To be honest with you, I don't think it would work to freeze the whole squash as you asked about.

Best regards,

Buster

JC on October 19, 2016:

We love stuffed patty pan squash so I'm wondering if I can freeze a whole patty pan? It would be wonderful if I could pull them out of the freezer this winter, stuff it and bake it.

Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on July 31, 2012:

I am putting patypan squash on the list for growing next summer. It is so beautiful and would be a great addition to simple yellow summer squash.

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 19, 2011:

Hi Irma,

I've been freezing squash for many years. When squash are at their peak, we eat them all the time. But after a while... you get tired of eating them.

Freezing lets you preserve that goodness for another time (late fall, in the winter) when you're ready for homegrown squash again.

:-)

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Best regards,

Buster

irma on September 19, 2011:

What a great idea for freezing squash. They were prolific this year so everyone has some, and since I really like squash, I can't give it away, I can now freeze it and have it for most of winter.

Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 15, 2011:

Hi Cami,

Thanks for taking the time to write to me. I think you'll be happy with your squash-from-the-freezer this year.

Best regards,

Buster

Cami Checketts on September 15, 2011:

Thank you! I froze squash last year and they were disgusting. I'm so happy to know the right method.