Drying and freezing summer squash
Food Saver Series: Summer Squash
Got squash? This time of the year I think everyone does. It is not uncommon around our parts to see gardeners that have set up little ‘freebie’ tables in their yards and the only thing on them is summer squash. And it leaves me to tell a story of a few years ago when my little girl was just 2. We had noticed that a volunteer plant had started to grow in a bad area of the garden (i.e. walkway!).
Anyway, my daughter wanted to keep it, so I suggested we move it. Before I could get to it, she had it out of the ground. I figured – ok, it wasn’t going to grow too much, if it even lived after the way she yanked it out. So, I had her put it in another area (another walkway, but not as necessary), told her to make sure to water it. Long story short, the stinking thing took over! And has, to this day, been the top producer of summer squash that we have ever had in our garden.
I was giving away pounds upon pounds to anyone and everyone who wanted it. And pretty much got on a first name basis with the local food bank because I was dropping squash off to them on a weekly basis.
Now, there is no way I could have ever tried to save all the squash we got that year, but every year I do tend to put up a good amount. My preferred methods are drying and freezing. Though I will note – that if you are wanting to make pickles and are running low on cucumbers, zucchini is a great stand in. I have made many a jar of pickled zucchini and they taste just the same as if you were using cucumbers.
Drying Summer Squash:
To dry zucchini I use a dehydrator. The process is pretty simple, wash your vegetables and cut into even slices, usually 1/4-1/2 inch. They can be whole rounds or if they are too big, I cut them in half or even 4th’s. After they are all cut place them on the dehydrator. It will take 6-12 hours to dry them fully. I try to start them in the morning and before bed they are usually all done.
Freezing Summer Squash:
The process to freeze summer squash is essentially the same as drying but instead of placing the slices on the dehydrator I placed them on baking sheets that have been lined with wax paper or a freezer safe silicon mat. The slices usually only take a few hours to fully freeze and once done they can be placed in a freezer bag.
I will note that for freezing I try to use the smallest squash that I can find, usually, 6-8 inches long. This is just my personal preference, I just think they hold together better.
I hope this helps you with any extra squash you may have – have a great weekend!