Summer squash harvest time is coming! It is time to harvest and use these versatile summer vegetables in diverse summer squash recipes, such as zucchini casserole, chocolate zucchini cake, and create tons of flavorful dishes.
However, summer squash storage life is pretty short that if you don’t store it properly, its quality will quickly go down. So how to store summer squash suitably? Follow the article below to discover the step-by-step guidelines.
Brief Introduction About Summer Squash
Before getting into details about storing summer squash, let’s have a glimpse at this veggie along with some popular summer squash. In this way, you can know what storing method works best for your summer squash type.
If you prefer a summer squash with mild flavor, zucchini is definitely the best choice to go for. It has average sweetness and the average-tough flesh with pretty thin skin.
Although zucchini can grow to be as big as the baseball bat, you’d better stick to the small summer squash for better texture and flavor.
For the mild flavor and pretty firm texture, you can use it for various purposes, such as a substitute for pasta.
Yellow Summer Squash
Yellow squash is available in two squash varieties – the straight long yellow squash and the yellow crookneck squash with a slightly bent neck.
Similar to Zuccichi, both varieties have a mild flavor with a hint of vegetable sweetness. They also have smooth to slightly bumpy, thin, pale yellow skin and dense fleshes layered with soft, edible seeds.
Pattypan Squash (Scallop Squash)
If yellow squash pictures remind crookneck, then those of the pattypan squash will make you think about the tiny adorable pumpkins.
Scallop squashes usually come in various colors, ranging from green to yellow or even a mix of the two. Despite the small summer squash size, scallop squashes have a crunchy texture, making them perfect ingredients for salad or a quick grill.
How To Store Summer Squash – Step-By-step Guidelines
Now, let’s dive into the detailed instructions on how to store yellow squash and other types of summer squash.
#1. How To Store Summer Squash In The Refrigerator?
Do you refrigerate squash? If you want to make the summer squashes last much longer, then yes – you should store summer squash in the refrigerator. Here, let us show you how to store fresh squash.
Step 1: Place The Squash In A Paper Bag
Right after harvesting squash, place it in a paper bag or plastic without cleaning it. Besides, leave one end open to encourage air circulation.
Step 2: Store The Squash In The Crisper Drawer
When you leave the squash in the vegetable crisper, it can last for up to 1-2 weeks.
#2. How To Store Summer Squash In The Freezer?
What if you want the maximum storage time for squash? How to store fresh squash and zucchini in that case?
Let’s freeze them, and you’ll be able to enjoy them whenever you want all year long. Here are steps to preserve the squash in the freezer.
Step 1: Clean The Summer Squash
Let’s start with rinsing the fresh summer squash under clean cold water or lukewarm water to remove the dirt. If the fresh squash has some stubborn stains, gently scrub it with a vegetable to get rid of these stains.
Step 2: Slice The Summer Squash
Use a sharp knife to cut both ends of the squash (about ¼ of an inch.) Then, slice them into small chunks (around ½ inch in thickness)
In this step, there are a few notes for you: First, it is a must to prepare the cutting summer squash quickly, or else it might start to discolor when sitting out at room temperature for a period of time.
Besides, you need to remember to only prepare enough squash for one blanching at a time.
In case you intend to use the squashes for later baking, you should grate instead of slicing them and steam blanch instead of blanching before moving to the next step of storing squash and zucchini.
Step 3: Get The Pots Ready
Prepare two separate pots. Then, fill the first one with boiling water (about 2/3 filled) and the other with ice water to receive the summer squash after blanching.
Step 4: Blanch The Summer Squash
Blanch the summer squash for around 3 minutes. You can use the same blanching water for multiple blanching times as long as you ensure that the water level meets the required height.
Step 5: Cool The Summer Squash
Take the summer squashes out of boiling water and place them in ice water to cool them for about 5 minutes. Once they are completely cool, drain thoroughly for around 3 minutes.
Step 6: Bag The Summer Squash
How to store cut squash? It would be best to remove the air as it helps prevent drying and freezer burn, then store them in ziplock freezer bags in the freezer.
However, if the squashes are very wet, just place them in the freezer containers and freeze them (unsealed and upright.) Within the next couple of hours, you can effortlessly seal the bag with frozen summer squash.
Frequently Asked Questions
How To Tell When Squash Is Ready To Pick?
When to harvest summer squash? The best time for harvesting summer squash is when the skin is glossy, and you can pierce the squash with a thumbnail.
You can harvest pattypan squash varieties when they are 3 to 6 inches in diameter. For the zucchini and yellow squash, you’d better harvest them when they still are baby summer squash with 4 to 6 inches in length for a tender flavor.
How To Harvest Summer Squash?
Is the harvesting method for ripe summer squash similar to that for ripe winter squash like butternut squash? Well, yes. They are very alike.
Once you notice the squash is ripe in the backyard garden, use a garden pruner or a sharp knife to pick the squash off the vine, leaving a short stem to extend the storage life.
During the picking squash process, do not tug or pull the fruit from the vine, or else you might damage the plant. Moreover, remember to gently handle the squash to avoid winding the skin.
What To Do With The Overripe Squash?
What if you have a package of squash that is overripe? What can you do with them?
Here are the complete instructions on how to store summer squash. Let’s follow the suitable storing method for your needs as soon as you harvest squash. In this way, they can stay fresh and delicious for a longer period.