Hi folks, sorry its been quite a long time since you've heard from GetawayGarden. So many things to update you on. But where to begin!
I think first I should talk a little bit about the Summer Squash because if you had some growing in your garden, then you have probably eating your fill, given tons away, and still have more squash! So, you may need some tips on what to do with it.
My family loves zucchini bread, but baking a bunch of loaves to use up the fresh zucchini takes a lot of time, makes a lot more heat in the kitchen, and the loaves take up a lot of freezer space. The next best option is to grate the squash now, and freeze it in small bags, and bake with it at a later time. It's quick and easy and doesn't tie up the kitchen time/space which you probably desperately need now for canning/preserving the rest of your harvest.
Here's what to do:
Wash the zucchini, no need to peel. Cut it length-wise, and remove the seeds. Using a box grater to shred the squash as shown in this picture. Measure out portions, per your recipe, and put into freezer bags. Put the portions into the freezer, then when you're ready to bake with them, simply allow to defrost at room temperature. I have even mixed in yellow summer squash with the zucchini before and it works out pretty well.
Note: you might read elsewhere that you should blanch the shredded veggie before you freeze it, and certainly you may by putting it in a mesh strainer and lowering it into the boiling water, then into an ice bath, and finally draining it very well. However, I skipped this, and have had really great results. This past week I baked zucchini bread cookies with a couple of portions from last year and the squash had kept well for a year--the flesh was nice and light colored and the flecks of peel were a lovely bright green color, and the texture was perfect.
Another option for preserving your bounty of summer squash is to freeze slices or chunks, to be used later in soups, pasta dishes, or stirfry. Simply wash, and cut the squash into slices, about a half inch thick. Blanch for 3 minutes in boiling water, then cool 5 minutes in ice bath, lay out on towel to air dry, or blot with paper towels. Flash freeze the pieces on waxed paper on a cookie sheet and bag after frozen. Note: I think the squash is pretty mushy after being frozen but if it is added to a dish such as soup or spaghetti sauce at the last minute, then it is quite edible.
There you have some easy ways to store all that squash you have picked from your garden so it doesn't go to waste. Your summer squash plants should be just about finished producing now as mine are, but I am sure you have plenty of other crops that still need your attention! A post on tomatoes coming soon...