Frozen Summer Squash


Instructions:

This information applies to Cocozelle, Crookneck, Pattypan, Straightneck, White Scallop, Zucchini

Choose young squash with tender skin. Wash and cut in 1/2-inch slices.

Water blanching: Water blanch 3 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze. Grated Zucchini (for Baking) – Choose young tender zucchini. Wash and grate. Steam blanch in small quantities 1 to 2 minutes until translucent. Pack in measured amounts into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Cool by placing the containers in cold water. Seal and freeze. If watery when thawed, discard the liquid before using the zucchini.

Source:

So Easy to Preserve, 5th ed. 2006




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Prevent Browning

Fruits like peaches, apples, pears and apricots darken quickly when exposed to air and during freezing. They also may lose flavor when thawed. There are several ways to prevent darkening and flavor loss in frozen fruit. Crystalline (powdered) ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is the most effective agent in preventing darkening of fruit. Not only does it preserve natural color and flavor of fruits, but it adds nutritive value as well. Ascorbic acid in crystalline or powdered form is available at some drugstores or where freezing supplies are sold. Check in advance as it may have to be special ordered. Ascorbic acid tablets are more readily available and less expensive, but are more difficult to dissolve. Also, fillers in the tablets may make the syrup cloudy. Three thousand milligrams of ascorbic acid in tablet form equal one teaspoon of crystalline ascorbic acid. To use, dissolve ascorbic acid in a little cold water. If using tablets, crush them so they will dissolve more easily. Use the amount specified for each fruit.

Close Headspace to Allow Between Packed Food and Closure:
Type of Pack Container with
wide top opening
Container with
narrow top opening
Pint Quart Pint Quart
Liquid Pack* ½ inch 1 inch ¾ inch 1 ½ inch
Dry Pack** ½ inch ½ inch ½ inch ½ inch
Juices ½ inch 1 inch 1½ inch 1½ inch
*Fruit packed in juice, sugar, syrup or water; crushed or pureéd fruit.
**Fruit or vegetable packed without added sugar or liquid

Source: So Easy to Preserve, 5th ed. 2006.
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Conditioning

  1. Cool food on trays.
  2. Pour into a large, nonporous container of food-grade material, fill to about ⅔ full.
  3. Cover container and place in a convenient, warm, dry place. Shake container daily or stir contents at least once a day for 10 to 14 days.
  4. Check for condensation on the lid and any signs of spoilage. If condensation occurs, return food to the dryer to finish the product.
  5. If any sign of mold growth occurs, discard the product.
  6. Cool thoroughly before packaging.
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Syrup Pack

The sweetness of the fruit to be frozen depends upon the proportion of sugar to water used. A 40 percent syrup is recommended for most fruits. Lighter syrups are desirable for mild-flavored fruits to prevent masking the flavors. Heavier syrups may be needed for very sour fruits. See Table 3 for proportions of sugar and water to use for the different syrups. To make the syrup, dissolve sugar in lukewarm water, mix until the solution is clear. Chill syrup before using. Use just enough cold syrup to cover the prepared fruit after it has been placed in the container (about ½ to ⅔ cup of syrup per pint). Leave appropriate headspace. To keep fruit under the syrup, place a small piece of crumpled, water-resistant paper, such as waxed paper, on top of the fruit and gently press fruit down into the syrup. Seal container tightly, label and freeze.

Type of syrup Sugar (cups) Water (cups) Yield of syrup (cups)
20% (very light) 1 1/4 4 4 ⅔
30% (light) 2 4 5
40% (medium) 3 4 5 ½
50% (heavy) 4 ⅔ 4 6 ½
60% (very heavy) 7 4 7 ¾

*In general, up to 1/4 of the sugar may be replaced by corn syrup or mild-flavored honey. A larger portion of corn syrup may be used if a very bland, light-colored type is selected.

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Sugar Pack

Sprinkle sugar over fruit and mix gently until the juice is drawn out and the sugar dissolved. Soft-sliced fruits such as peaches, strawberries, grapes, plums and cherries will yield sufficient syrup for covering if the fruit is layered with sugar and allowed to stand 15 minutes. Pack into containers, leaving appropriate headspace. To keep fruit under the syrup, place a small piece of crumpled, water-resistant paper, such as waxed paper, on top of the fruit and gently press fruit down into the syrup. Seal container tightly, label and freeze.

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Unsweetened Pack

Most fruits have a better texture, color and flavor if packed in sugar or syrup. However, sugar is not necessary to safely preserve fruit. For those wishing to cut down on sugar, fruit can be packed dry without any sugar, or covered with water or unsweetened juice containing ascorbic acid. For a juice pack, use unsweetened, light-colored, complementary juices such as apple, pineapple, orange or white grape juice. For all unsweetened packs, leave appropriate headspace. When fruit is packed in unsweetened water or juice, keep fruit submerged by placing a small piece of crumpled, water-resistant paper, such as waxed paper, on top of the fruit and gently press fruit down into the juice or water. Seal container tightly, label and freeze. Raspberries, blueberries, blanched apples, gooseberries, cranberries and rhubarb can be frozen without sugar and still be a good quality product.

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Tray Pack

The tray pack is a dry unsweetened pack that is good for small, whole fruits such as blueberries, raspberries and cranberries that give a good quality product without sugar. Spread a single layer of prepared fruit on shallow trays and freeze. Leave in the freezer just long enough to freeze firm. Longer exposure to dry freezer air will result in moisture loss and a decrease in quality. When frozen, promptly package, leaving no headspace, seal tightly, label and return to the freezer. The fruit pieces remain loose and can be poured from the container and the package reclosed.

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Puree Pack

Puree fruit and add ascorbic acid. Sweetening is optional. Pack, leaving appropriate headspace, seal container tightly, label and freeze.

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Sulfite Dip

Sulfite dips can be prepared and used in the kitchen and sulfite-dipped fruits can be dried indoors. There are several disadvantages of sulfite dips. Penetration of sulfite may be uneven, resulting in uneven color retention. The loss of water-soluble nutrients is greater than in sulfured fruit. And, finally, the fruit may absorb water, which will result in a longer drying time.

Soaking times vary with the type of fruit and thickness of slices. Dissolve ¾ teaspoon to 1-½ teaspoons sodium bisulfate per quart of water. (If using sodium sulfite, use 1-½ teaspoons to 3 teaspoons. If using sodium meta-bisulfite, use 1 tablespoon to 2 tablespoons.) Place the prepared fruit in the mixture and soak 5 minutes for slices, 15 minutes for halves. Remove fruit, rinse lightly under cold water and place on drying trays. (This solution can be used only once. Make a new one for the next batch.) These chemicals must be of food-grade quality and usually are available at winemaking supply stores, natural foods stores or pharmacies. Prices vary considerably.

Recent research indicates that certain asthmatics may react adversely to sulfites. Persons who are sensitive to sulfites should avoid preparing or eating sulfite-treated foods. Sulfite fumes will be given off during the drying process; also, if sodium bisulfite is added to water for steam-blanching, fumes will escape with the steam.

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Syrup Blanching

Blanching fruit in syrup helps it retain color fairly well during drying and storage. The resulting product is similar to candied fruit. Fruits that can be syrup blanched include: apples, apricots, figs, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums and prunes. Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup and 2 cups water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Add 1 pound of prepared fruit and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let fruit stand in hot syrup for 30 minutes. Lift fruit out of syrup, rinse lightly in cold water, drain on paper towels and place on dryer racks.

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Steam Blanching (Drying)

Steam blanching also helps retain color and slow oxidation. However, the flavor and texture of the fruit are changed. Place several inches of water in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Heat to boiling. Place fruits or vegetables, not more than 2 inches deep, in a steamer pan or wire basket over boiling water. Cover tightly with lid and begin timing immediately. Check for even blanching halfway through the blanching time. Some fruits or vegetables may need to be stirred. Remove from heat and dip briefly in ice water only long enough to stop cooking. Cool until they feel only slightly hot to touch - about 120 degrees F. When done, remove excess moisture using paper towels.

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Water Blanching (Drying)

Most vegetables need to be blanched before drying to stop enzyme activity. If enzymes are not destroyed, they will produce "off" flavors and the vegetables will turn brown during the drying process as well as during storage. Blanching kills some spoilage organisms, shortens the drying time of some foods and protects vitamins C and A during storage. But it also causes the loss of some water-soluble nutrients.

Blanching times vary with vegetables and thickness of slices. See specific blanch times listed for each vegetable. For boiling-water blanching, immerse no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water. Place a lid on the pot. The water should return to boiling within 1 minute, or you are using too many vegetables for the amount of boiling water. Start counting blanching time as soon as the water returns to a boil. Remove from heat and dip briefly in ice water only long enough to stop cooking. Cool until they feel only slightly hot to touch - about 120 degrees F. When done, remove excess moisture using paper towels.

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Steam Blanching (Freezing)

Steam blanching also helps retain color and slow oxidation. However, the flavor and texture of the fruit are changed. Place several inches of water in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Heat to boiling. Place fruits or vegetables, not more than 2 inches deep, in a steamer pan or wire basket over boiling water. Cover tightly with lid and begin timing immediately. Check for even blanching halfway through the blanching time. Some fruits or vegetables may need to be stirred. Remove from heat and dip in ice water for the same amount of time that the produce was blanched. For example, if the blanching is 3 minutes, leave in the ice water for 3 minutes. When done, remove excess moisture using paper towels.

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Water Blanching (Freezing)

Most vegetables need to be blanched before drying to stop enzyme activity. If enzymes are not destroyed, they will produce "off" flavors and the vegetables will turn brown during the drying process as well as during storage. Blanching kills some spoilage organisms, shortens the drying time of some foods and protects vitamins C and A during storage. But it also causes the loss of some water-soluble nutrients.

Blanching times vary with vegetables and thickness of slices. See specific blanch times listed for each vegetable. For boiling-water blanching, immerse no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water. Place a lid on the pot. The water should return to boiling within 1 minute, or you are using too many vegetables for the amount of boiling water. Start counting blanching time as soon as the water returns to a boil. Remove from heat and dip in ice water for the same amount of time that the produce was blanched. For example, if the blanching is 3 minutes, leave in the ice water for 3 minutes. When done, remove excess moisture using paper towels.

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