The whole reason (well, honestly, one reason) I wanted to do a garden was so that we could have lot’s of healthy, homegrown veggies for the freezer. Nothing like making soups and stews and other foods from your summer garden during the Fall and Winter months.
We have had our fill of summer squash, so I decided I better get some processed before it went bad. We have 2 crookneck squash and 2 goldbar squash that are really pumping out the produce! My zucchini on the other hand…..well, I’m slightly disappointed. I hope to have better luck next year!
When doing this process it’s easiest to do batches. And use just picked produce. What I have showing in this picture made 9 different batches. Had I had more fresh squash available I would have done more. I will be doing this again soon!
First thing I did was wash everything off. No dirt left on it.
Then I sliced it up into about 1/2 inch slices.
It then went into a boiling pot of water. I blanched it for 3 minutes. The reason I blanch it is because all vegetables and fruit have enzymes and bacteria that in time will break down. It will destroy the nutrients, color, flavor and texture while being frozen. Blanching squash destroys the enzymes.
Cover your pot while blanching.
Now here is where I got busy and forgot to take pictures! Once your 3 minutes of blanching is over, remove your squash with a slotted spoon and place it in a bowl of ice water. The ice water stops the squash from cooking more. Leave it in for about 5 minutes or until cold. After doing this with 2-3 batches of squash I had to dump out some water from the bowl and add more ice.
Same with the boiling water. After about 3 batches I needed to add more warm water.
Once the squash was done with it’s ice bath, I removed it from the ice bowl to a smaller bowl that had a strainer over it. This way the water could leak out and it wouldn’t be so wet when I went to place it in baggies.
This is when I wish I had a vacuum sealer! Someday. But for now I just bagged up 1-3 squash, enough for a soup or something in individual baggies, then put 4-5 of those bags into a freezer bag. And, because I’m cheap I like to put a paper label in with the name, date processed and date of “expiration” on it. I say “expiration” because depending on how it’s frozen it can stay good for 5-14 months. It doesn’t go bad, it will just start to lose some of it’s taste.
It was very easy and a pretty clean project. So much easier than canning!