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If you’ve ever had a garden, you probably tried your hand at growing summer squash and zucchini. They are super simple to grow and often, you just need to plant them in the ground and watch as they take over their little spot in the garden.

The problem with zucchini and summer squash is you often have a surplus, and you may consider freezing it. If you’ve ever wondered how to do it, you will be happy to know that it is not difficult. Freezing it the right way helps you to enjoy great tasting squash and zucchini from your summer garden all year long.

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More than likely, you will have a lot of vegetables to freeze, so you can use any cut that you want. Just think about how you will use it when you thaw it out. If you are going to use it as a side dish, you may want to slice or cube it. You can also grate the vegetable and freeze it in smaller portions to use when baking loaves of bread and cakes. You may even want to mix-and-match zucchini with squash. Since the taste is similar, you can get more bang for your buck. If you don’t want to mix them, just label the bag before you put it in the freezer.

Prepare and Blanch

The following are the steps you should use when preparing zucchini and summer squash for freezing.

1. Wash the squash and cut off the blossom and stem ends. There’s no need to peel the squash.

2. Slice or cube the squash.

3. Fill a large bowl or container with ice and water.

4. Fill a large stockpot or kettle with 1 gallon of water; bring it to a boil over high heat.

5. Put about 1 pound of the prepared squash in the boiling water. If you have a wire basket, you can put that in the water and then place the vegetables in the basket. Using a wire basket in the water will make it easier to lift all of the squash out at the same time, but it’s not necessary. Once the water has returned to a rolling boil, begin timing.

6. Follow these blanching times, depending on the cut: Grated: 2 minutes; cubed or thinly sliced (1/4 inch): 3 minutes; thick slices (1 1/4 inch): 6 minutes

7. Immediately immerse the blanched squash in the ice water to stop the cooking.

8. Drain the squash thoroughly and then transfer to freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch of headspace (leave at least an inch if using narrow-mouth glass jars).

9. If freezing in zip-close storage bags or if you’re using a vacuum sealing system, first freeze slices or cubes on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Seal the vegetables in bags using a vacuum sealing system or by removing as much air as possible from a freezer bag before sealing.

10. Label the containers or bags with the name of the vegetable, the cut, and date. Once sealed and frozen, it can be stored for up to 3 months or up to a year or more if vacuum sealed.

How to Cook Zucchini and Summer Squash after Freezing

Start with about 1/2 inch of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the frozen vegetables, cover the pan, and cook until they turn tender. If you are using grated zucchini, don’t use it in a recipe until it is defrosted.

Prior to adding zucchini to cake or bread batter, use a paper towel to blot away excess moisture. There may be a slightly different color or texture after freezing, so eating it raw will not be the same as cooking it.