Summertime means squash season. Even in a drought, it seems like squash is the cockroach of the vegetable garden – it can survive anything. This time of year, we’re all up to our ears in it, throwing squash and zucchini on the grill every other night, making squash casseroles, baking zucchini bread, and pawning it off on our friends and neighbors.

So this year, I decided to take a lesson from my mom and try my first attempt at freezing squash. “Putting up” vegetables, as we say here in the South, always sounded so intimidating to me, but it’s actually quite simple!

SEE MORE: Preserving and Freezing Fresh Produce

Excuse the iPhone photography, but here are some step-by-step photo instructions of how to blanch and freeze squash (and zucchini).

1. Wash your squash. I had several different varieties from my mom, but the instructions are the same for any type of squash, whether it’s crookneck, zucchini or something else.

2. Cut the squash into rounds about 1/4-inch thick. If you plan on using it for zucchini bread, you could grate it instead.

3. Blanch the squash by steaming or boiling them for about 3 to 5 minutes (less time if grated). I use an inexpensive metal steamer, since that’s what my mom uses, but you can also just plop it straight into boiling water. This destroys the enzymes and bacteria that would, over time, remove nutrients and flavor from the squash.

4. Cool the squash. Once it’s done steaming or boiling (should be tender when poked with a fork), immediately throw the squash into a prepared bowl of ice water, adding additional ice if needed. Moving the squash quickly from heat to cold ensures the squash aren’t overcooked. (No, my zucchini didn’t change color… I just forgot to take a photo with the first batch.)

5. Drain the squash. This will remove excess moisture and prepare the squash for freezing.

41 COMMENTS

  1. Great article.
    You might also consider a vacuum sealer for Georgia veggies. I tried it last year and it works GREAT! Absolutely no freezer burn.
    You can pick up a Ziploc brand sealer AND bags for under $30 at Wal-Mart. (the bags are reusable.)
    Thanks again for the great article.
    Wayne Canon

  2. You’re welcome! And you can use a similar method for similar produce – just adjust the blanching time depending on the type/size of vegetable.

    Thanks for visiting Farm Flavor!

    Jessy Yancey
    editor, farmflavor.com

  3. I’m going to dehydrate my sqaush this year. Usually I can it. So I didn’t exactly know how to blanch these thank you for this info.

  4. I accidentally made a great squash recipe discovery last night. I was so tired of all the ways I’d been making summer squash, I decided to experiment with canned soup. I sauteed the squash slices in a little butter,stopping before they were really getting tender, then opened a can I thought was celery soup, but turned out to be cream of broccoli cheese soup. I mixed it with 1/2 cup of milk and 2 T. sour cream, mixed it with the squash, put it in a casserole dish, then topped with Parmesan cheese and cooked in the microwave 5 minutes. It tasted delicious, and had a very different flavor from all the squash things I had been making!

  5. Hi Sara,

    Sorry to hear! The thawed squash will never be quite as crisp as fresh squash, but it’s great for soups and casseroles. If it’s too mushy for those uses, then you probably let it cook for too long. It should be crisp-tender, not mushy, after steaming for a couple of minutes and then placed in the ice water. You also have to be sure to get as much air out of the freezer bags as possible.

    Hope this helps!

    Jessy Yancey
    editor, Farm Flavor

  6. Definitely going to try this. Made your cucumbers for freezing last year. Now my whole family uses that very simple recipe, even my mom makes your recipe instead of canning. (She said, its just like her pickles but better) Even the kids can do it!!!!! Keep updating when and if you find something that works better!!!!

  7. Ha. Wasn’t your site.

    Here it is. Really easy and simple…
    CUCUMBERS FOR FREEZING

    7 cups thin sliced cucumbers
    3 med onion sliced
    1 green pepper, chopped
    2 cups Sugar
    1 cup vinegar (white)
    1/2 teaspoon celery seed
    1 tablespoon salt

    Mix everything together in lg bowl
    Refrigerate for 24 hours.
    Put in containers and freeze!

    Great in winter. They are as fresh as right out of the garden!!!!

    Hope you enjoy!

  8. a trick I learned earlier this summer when freezing whole berries – squeeze as much air out of the ziplock bag as you can, then almost seal it. Insert a plastic straw in the opening and suck as much air out as possible!! Cheaper than the vacuum sealer machines.

  9. I agree, this is a good article; some other articles I’ve read are really incomplete. I have a question: If I wanted to grate say, a quart of zucchini and blanched it for maybe 1 minute to 1.5 minutes, and then cooling with ice, removing as much moisture as I can (removing the excess water with a straw is a great idea!) would it be mushy when I thawed it? I have a LOT of zucchini and squash (first time gardener, yea!)and think that you method will work really well.

  10. Hi Sheryl,

    You do not need to peel them – the squash skin actually contains a lot of antioxidants!

    If a squash gets too big, it may lose some flavor, but that should be fine for freezing and then reheating to mix into sauces, soups, etc. You can still cut your squash into similar, coin-sized pieces for consistency – but if you want to do larger pieces, you would blanch it for a little longer. Hope this helps!

    Jessy Yancey
    editor, Farm Flavor

  11. Great job on instructions and pictures. I like that it was very straight forward with a little personal touch. Thank you for your time and effort, keep up the good work.

  12. I also have a question: “How to Blanch and Freeze Summer Squash and Zucchini?” but now I’m having answer. Thank for your helpful shares!

  13. I just finished blanching and icing my summer squash using your directions. Thank you very much! I lightly blotted the slices with paper towels and then laid them on wax paper in single layers on a cookie sheet. When they have frozen I will bag them up. I felt like this would make it easier to remove as much as I wanted from the bag at a time instead of having to thaw the entire bag. I think they will be individual squash slices. Hope it works!!

  14. That’s a great idea, Janet! I’ve done that when freezing blueberries, but never with squash slices. Let us know if it works well!

    Thanks,
    Jessy

  15. My question is how would go about saving you zuccunni squash wholeto be able to bake later is that possible without them being mushy aftet being frozen?

  16. My question is how would go about saving you zuccunni squash wholeto be able to bake later is that possible without them being mushy aftet being frozen?

  17. I don’t think you can freeze a whole zucchini – it would turn out very mealy and mushy, as you noted. That’s why shredding it or slicing it and using it in casseroles works better. Sorry I’m not more help!

    Thanks for your comment,
    Jessy

  18. We use the same method! I save myself using a lot of small bags by doing your method, steaming then flash freezing them on a piece of parchment paper laid out across the whole freezer, the rounds shouldnt touch when freezing, after 2 hours flip and wait another hour, they will be able to be packed into a big gallon bag and the rounds wont stick together, works for shredded uncooked zucchini too.

  19. Thank you SO much! I have a food saver and lots of squash and zucchini 🙂
    totally going to freeze bunches!

  20. The single slice flash-freezing works. I do this every year for all my berries, squash, zucchini, beans, etc… on a tray with wax paper. After flash-freezing on a tray I load them into serving-size bags and vacuum seal. No freezer burn and they are not as mushy when thawed. But to ensure no mushiness, do not over-blanch and chill quickly. There’s nothing like your own garden veggies for cooking in the dead of winter (reminds me that Spring is just around the corner)

  21. Thank U sooooo very much! I love my squash & I didn’t want 2 give anymore away (except for some ppl that really need food) I would love 2 here from u again on how 2 keep garden food fresh. I moved from Florida 2 Ketucky, but have no ideas on canning, freezing & I don’t know any ppl here that would like 2 teach me. If u have time or a book that would help I would so appreciate it my # is (606)3073791, & email is [email protected]. Thanx a million times over,ur a life saver❤

  22. BEST recipe for summer squash – can’t wait to try it with frozen squash!

    Summer Squash Casserole

    Preheat oven to 325.

    1 # pork sausage Brown
    1 clove garlic Add to sausage, last few minutes of browning,
    then drain off fat

    4 C sliced summer squash Cook in boiling, salted water for about 2 minutes, then drain. Mix with sausage and add the following:

    ½ C bread crumbs
    ½ C Parmesan cheese
    ½ C milk
    1 T chopped parsley
    ½ t dried oregano
    ½ t salt

    2 well-beaten eggs Fold into the above mixture. Turn into 8 X 8 baking dish.
    Bake at 325 for 25 – 30 minutes.

    4-6 servings.

  23. Thank you! I have a mountain of yellow squash and wondered how to save it for later! Needed this information.

  24. If you take the extra step of first freezing the squash in a single layer on parchment paper on cookie sheets, then when they are frozen transfer it to a freezer bag/container, each piece will be individually frozen, not freeze into a lump and will not be mush when defrosted. By the way, Jessy’s instructions, with the additional step of freezing on cookie sheets first, works excellent for mushrooms.

  25. This is a great point! I do this when freezing blueberries and blackberries, but haven’t tried it with squash since it’s usually being dumped into soups or sautes. Thanks for the tip!

  26. Unfortunately, putting up the squash means it will get a little mushy and not ideal for frying. It’s still great baked in casseroles, cooked in soups or sauteed in stir-fries, but it won’t really hold up well to breading and frying. You might try grating it and squeezing out the moisture to see if that works!

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