Preserving/Canning

Dried Squash

Freezing Squash

Over the past few days I’ve been preserving squash. First on the list-put some in the freezer.

I’ve never froze squash before-so I consulted my Ball Canning Book-which suggested you blanch the slices quickly-let them cool down-then pack the squash into your freezer container.

Although I was pleased to end up with several bags of yellow squash in my freezer-I’m wondering if you couldn’t just skip the blanching part. When squash is sliced-it doesn’t take long to actually cook it. Seems it might stay fresher without being blanched.

Second on the list-try drying squash. My dehydrator is a yard sale find-it works great-but only has one setting. I kept a close check on them-and the smallest pieces were completely dried in about 2 hours-the others-depending on the their sizes took longer.

I was planning on using the dried squash in soups and stews-but was pleasantly surprised by how good they tasted straight from the dehydrator. The finished product tastes very similar to fried squash-and that’s a good thing.

After hearing Dorothy Decorah speak about dried squash, I couldn’t stop myself from trying her Mother’s method.

I strung the squash pieces on a string and hung them in my sunniest window. Maybe it’ll work-it sure looks pretty anyway.

I seem to have developed an aversion to freezing natures bounty. Don’t get me wrong-I think it preserves the taste and texture of most vegetables and is wonderful for taking care of The Deer Hunter’s venison. It’s not the room either-we are lucky to have 2 freezers in our basement (thank you Miss Cindy).

I suppose it’s the same self sustaining feeling-you know the one that causes me to feel safe in my mountain holler cause I know beyond the next ridge I’d be hidden from sight?

Last summer when the economy first started plummeting-I drove The Deer Hunter crazy trying to make him can everything-even the things we usually freeze like corn and venison. I worry about the stability of our electricity. It’s not uncommon for us to loose power for an hour or so-when there is no obvious reason-no snow, no storm, no wind. And if there is snow or wind-we know the power will go out.

So I worry about electricity loss due to natural causes-but truthfully I worry about loosing electricity due to causes other than mother nature-other causes-that no one can stop. Maybe I’m paranoid-think so?

Tipper

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Linda/BehindMyRedDoor
    July 8, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Very interesting! I have had dried squash but I have the same dehydrator – maybe I will give it a go!!
    Thanks for stopping by!
    hugs, Linda/Behind my Red door

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 7, 2009 at 8:11 am

    I’ve never dried squash but it sounds like a great idea. I’ve never been particularly satisfyed with freezing squash. It has such a high water content it turns to mush.
    My one exception to freezing squash is stuffed squash. Yellow squash or zucchini hold their integrity when blanched and stuffed then frozen uncooked on a cookie sheet. Transfer to bags when frozen hard. Then just take from the freezer and cook.
    Any skills learned that make us more self sufficient are a good expenditure of energy. I like feeling secure within myself and do things to enhance that feeling.
    Rather than entertaining the word paranoia I choose to think of the word self sufficient.
    You go girl!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    July 6, 2009 at 8:08 am

    I love drying foods. I have one jar of yellow squash and one jar of zucinni (sp?) that is about 3 years old. It still looks great. I should make something out of them and see how they are. Dried foods last a very long time if you package them right.
    If you are interested, you can learn more about dring at dehydrate2store.com. Lots of good videos there.
    I understand your fears, we have them too.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    July 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Raw, canned, dried or fried, there’s nothing like yellow squash. It doesn’t stay around my house long enough to store it though. I like it too much. I also like when I can get some and put it at the last minute in my bean soup during Autumn. Such a nice surprise and gives it a fresh wholesome taste. Yum! xxoo

  • Reply
    SandyCarlson
    July 4, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    I think it’s fair to think about the cost of electricity when food is kept frozen. Canning is a more autonomous approach. If things are dried, how are they stored?

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    July 4, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Our yellow squash is just beginning to set on the flower. That summer treat is still ahead here on the northern plain.
    We don’t freeze, even though it’s much easier than canning, especially open-kettle. We had a freezer, we kept it one year, and sold it. You can’t see inside. You can’t see the bounty from the outside nor feel the assurance by walking by of shelves full of food.
    I remember my Momma’s shelves of home-canned goods; vegetables from the garden, apples, and even pork sausage.
    When you open up a Ball Canning Book from the 1940s, you see the shelves filled with the stunningly beautiful jars of green and yellow and red, and there’s that nostalgic feeling of times remembered and in the cold winter, oh the comforting assurance as you see it all that you won’t go hungry, not for a long time.

  • Reply
    GrannyPam
    July 4, 2009 at 10:36 am

    The summer squash we grow is zucchini, and I have always ground it up in my grinder and frozen it in portions for bread and/or muffins.
    I have a dryer, but I like the idea of of your other method, too. We actually saved a screen from an old window, and I could use that to dry food, too. Our squash will be a little later in the cold north, but we always have it coming out of our ears. I’ll have to try drying it this year.
    We have a freezer, but I can most veggies. We finally got a small generator when we moved to the city, the power can go out anywhere. It is a little one, but it will keep the freezer and fridge going. In storms with a lot of rain, we can the sump pump to keep from floating away.
    I’ve always wondered when TV news shows people who lost freezers full of food in a power outage. I guess I’d fire up my propane stove and can anything that was going to thaw.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    July 4, 2009 at 1:59 am

    Your dried squash tastes like fried! Awesome!! Love it hanging in the window – around here it would collect bugs. . .

  • Reply
    Dejoni
    July 4, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Tipper I am so glad you posted this as I have a whole clothes basket full of squash and had absolutely no idea what to do with them. I’m gonna try to freeze them and see how it goes.
    Also, I planted my garlic for the first time this year. How do I know when they’re ready?

  • Reply
    Louise
    July 3, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Paranoid? I don’t know. You can just say you like it better dried,or need some variety!

  • Reply
    Becky
    July 3, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I like fried squash. I’ve never tried it dried. I’ll have to give it a try.

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    July 3, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    My friend says you have to blanch them to stop the enzymes that cause it to break down. However, most people I know who live in the country don’t blanch things either.
    I love it that you say dried squash tastes like fried squash. I really love fried squash, so I am going to have my friend make some for me.

  • Reply
    Jenny-Jenny
    July 3, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Great ideas. I would like to do more of my own canning/drying. I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. I read a book recently that for some reason got me thinking about you. The writing was fantastic and the story was okay. It’s called Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech. Juvenile Fiction about a girl with a garden and a historical trail she wants to uncover.

  • Reply
    Annie
    July 3, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I just listened to Dorothy’s sweet voice telling about drying squash. How delightful! Thank you for sharing this with us. I love her mother’s method.

  • Reply
    Annie
    July 3, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I do freeze a lot of fruits and vegetables, but I’m like you, I still love to can. I love to hear the sound of jars popping when they seal.
    The dried squash sounds good. I’ve never seen this done.
    Blessings, Annie

  • Reply
    GaFarmWomanPam
    July 3, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    The dried squash is something new to me. I can’t wait to try it. I have froze and canned it.
    Like Kelli in her comment, I have also dried green beans,Leather Britches, before on strings.
    Of course dried apples too. Love those fried dried apple pies!
    My husband has the same ideas of putting up food for hard times, either for weather or economics.
    It does come in handy either way too.
    Have a great weekend.
    Pam

  • Reply
    threecollie
    July 3, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I froze some last year and it was great in soup. I did blanch it though. This year it is raining so much I can’t get my squash to even grow. What a summer!

  • Reply
    Valerie
    July 3, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Hey,
    I freeze my squash more often than canning. I never blanch them. I just slice and put them in the bags. I do ususally but the good freezer bags.
    I would like to try drying them. I worry about the electricity too. I don’t think your paranoid!

  • Reply
    Farmchick
    July 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Woohoo, I finally got through, but I am posting from my Dad’s computer for a few days. I have to admit that I don’t care for squash all that much. I like it raw, but that’s about it. Maybe fried a little bit. I still grow some in the garden. Drying it sounds like something to try, though. Easy to keep and pack in my lunch.

  • Reply
    Emily Cole
    July 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Hey Tipper! I love the idea of freezing/canning squash – I need to do something with all mine! I have 3 squash plants and now it’s coming out of my ears! What do you do to keep the dry squash long term? I am looking at a dehydrator on craigslist that looks just like yours (one setting, several trays) for $10… should I just go buy one somewhere?

  • Reply
    Kelli
    July 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Nope, not crazy at all. Coming from a place that supplies most of the nation’s coal supply and knowing that coal is quickly running out, the mines are laying off men and women like crazy, and there is terrible unrest in our people about mountaintop removal but still no real viable options to replace coal… I’d say it’s okay to constructively worry a bit.
    I’ve gotten my first zucchini out of the garden this morning and squash will be next. I like the thought of drying them too like you have on the strings. We dry beans that way – leather britches, and just hang the strings on the wall or somewhere… or put in bags in a dry location until they are to be used. Yum!

  • Reply
    fishing guy
    July 3, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Tipper: Those are some fun methods for working with the squash. We just sliced it and froze it and that worked fine.

  • Reply
    Sheila
    July 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I like the idea of stringing vegies to dry. No, I don’t you’re paranoid. These things are to happen it’s a sign of the times. Ya’ll have a good and 4th.

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