Yellow crookneck squash peaks during the summer months, but you can enjoy the freshness of the vegetable throughout the entire year by freezing it. Yellow squash contains numerous nutrients, including beta-carotene, iron, calcium and vitamins A and C. It is a versatile vegetable that can be used in salads, casseroles, stir-fries and soups. Freezing squash requires that you blanch it first so that it retains its bright color and firm texture. There is only a slight reduction in the vitamin and mineral content of yellow squash when blanching, and steam blanching retains the most nutrients.
Blanching by Boiling
Cut 1/4 inch off of each end of the crookneck squash. Scrub the skin with a vegetable brush under warm running water. The majority of the nutrients in the squash are contained in the skin. Cut the squash into 1-inch pieces.
Place a medium-size pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil.
Fill a bowl with cold water and ice and set it on the counter. The ice water is used to immediately halt the cooking process after the squash is submerged in the boiling water.
Place the pieces of yellow crookneck squash in the boiling water and allow them to blanch, or cook, for 3 minutes.
Remove the squash from the boiling water, using a slotted spoon to avoid burning yourself. Immediately place the squash in the ice water. Delaying this process can cause the squash to be overcooked, which may result in mushy vegetables when you thaw them. Leave the squash in the ice water for at least 2 minutes.
Dry the squash by setting the pieces on a paper or cloth towel on the counter for approximately 20 minutes.
Transfer the yellow squash to airtight containers or zipper-lock bags. Store in the freezer.
Fill a bowl with cold water and ice and set it on the counter. The ice water is used to immediately halt the cooking process after the squash is steamed over the boiling water.
Use a pot with an airtight lid and a steam basket that will keep the squash at least 3 inches above the boiling water.
Put water in the pot, leaving 3 inches of room between the top of the water and the bottom of the steam basket.
Bring water to a boil, and then carefully place squash in a single layer in the steam basket.
Cover with lid and allow to steam for 3 minutes.
Remove basket of squash from boiling water and immediately plunge it into the bowl of cold water. Allow to cool in water for 3 minutes.
Things You'll Need
- National Center for Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia: Freezing - Blanching, Steam Blanching
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fruit and Vegetable of the Month: Squash
- National Center for Home and Food Preservation: Assessment of Microwave Blanching as a Preparatory Tool for Home Freezing of Yellow Squash