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What do I do with all of this summer squash?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I overplanted squash.  I have a 4 x 6" bed dedicated to it.    The week before last I went out and picked squash and enjoyed it with just about every meal.  I just went out and picked again!   What can I do to save squash without canning it?  I have a feeling it will be mushy if it's canned.

Is there a way to store it so it will last longer?   I hate wasting stuff like this.  At the moment I'm thinking my only option is composting it. 

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pollinator
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Native people dried it for winter storage.  I think it's pretty tasty that way, eaten as chips.  Can also be added to soup in this chip form.

Dried squash could be ground and used as a soup base.  This might be the most efficient way to store a lot of it in a small space.  Dried squash powder could be stored in the freezer for best longevity.
 
Scott Foster
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Native people dried it for winter storage.  I think it's pretty tasty that way, eaten as chips.  Can also be added to soup in this chip form.

Dried squash could be ground and used as a soup base.  This might be the most efficient way to store a lot of it in a small space.  Dried squash powder could be stored in the freezer for best longevity.



Great idea, thanks Tyler
 
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Ive been canning it and eating it from the can. Its mushy but noone has had problems with it. A little butter and heated up as a side. Dump a can in with cooked rice or spaghetti sauce. I keep thinking of new ways to encorporate it.
 
Scott Foster
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wayne fajkus wrote:Ive been canning it and eating it from the can. Its mushy but no one has had problems with it. A little butter and heated up as a side. Dump a can in with cooked rice or spaghetti sauce. I keep thinking of new ways to incorporate it.



Thanks, Wayne, I could do a little drying and little canning.  This batch is toast as I'm going out of town.
 
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My husband goes through an obscene amount of zucchini butter sandwiches.

2 pounds zucchini, more or less*
1/4 cup olive oil or butter, if you prefer
2 minced shallots, garlic, or combination of both
Salt and pepper
Coarsely grate the zucchini. Let it drain in a colander for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are ready to begin cooking. To hasten cooking time, squeeze the water out of the zucchini by wringing it in a clean cloth towel.

In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil/butter. Sauté the shallots briefly. Add the zucchini and toss. Cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency. If you scorch the bottom, turn the flame down! (And scrape those delicious bits into the marmalade for added flavor.) The zucchini will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a nice vegetable jam.



Says it will keep a month in the fridge, and I see no reason why it couldn't be frozen.

Good on toast, in sandwiches, as pizza sauce...
 
Tyler Ludens
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Don't throw them out, they may stay just fine until you get back.  Just make sure they aren't sitting on a surface that might be damaged if some pass into the great beyond.
 
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If some of those varieties were allowed to mature on the vine, they would make decent, long-storing winter squash.
 
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I love squash…..

It looks like the kind that can be store long term as is.  I put my squash in a cooler room and it lasted 9 months.  One has spoiled about 5 months ago, so I composted it, but I just cooked my last one last week.

I cook one each week and what I do not eat that week, I then freeze.

You can add squash to cookies.  I make a dyhydrated cookies: squash, ripe bananas, cooked squash, maple syrup, sunflower seeds, shelled pumpkin seeds, pumpkin spice and oatmeal.  Mix it without other liquid, so adjust your ingredients to make it work.  Each time, it a bit different.  Then I flatten it into cookie shapes and dyhydrate it.  Make a tasty cookie.


Also, I love making squash compote.  Cooked squash, maple syrup, pumpkin spice and any fruit I have on hand.  Cook on low to evaporate extra moisture or once it is cooked, I add dried fruit & chia seeds to absorb extra moisture.  I then use it on toast like jam or add it to smoothies.  I really love peanut butter & squash compote on toast so much that I eat it a few times per week.

You can also mash cooked squash and carrots as a side dish.  Squash is a very versatile fruit.

If you can it, it must be well canned as solid foods need more time to be properly canned.  I prefer freezing cooked squash since it is less work and less risky and I currently have space for it in the freezer as needed.  I hope one day that I will grow 52 squash, one for each week of the year.  I think of squash as a staple food.  Easy to store, easy to cook and tastes great by itself or blends well with other foods.

I am growing squash for the first time this year (grew zuchinni other years).  I will not get close to 52 squash, as I only have a few plants to experiment this year. 

If you still have too much squash, give it to friends and neighbours who do not grow or donate it to the food bank.



 
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you could bake them, scoop the pulp into jars or bags and freeze it for later use.  Squash, like zucchini, can be used to make bread..   Great job growing so much great looking squash.

At the moment I'm thinking my only option is composting it.  

It certainly could be a great source of composting material if one wanted to grow squash for that purpose.  Especially since squash also produce a lot of seeds so that a person could create a lot of squash to make a lot of compost...  :)  I've considered it. 
 
Scott Foster
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Jan White wrote:My husband goes through an obscene amount of zucchini butter sandwiches.

2 pounds zucchini, more or less*
1/4 cup olive oil or butter, if you prefer
2 minced shallots, garlic, or combination of both
Salt and pepper
Coarsely grate the zucchini. Let it drain in a colander for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are ready to begin cooking. To hasten cooking time, squeeze the water out of the zucchini by wringing it in a clean cloth towel.

In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil/butter. Sauté the shallots briefly. Add the zucchini and toss. Cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency. If you scorch the bottom, turn the flame down! (And scrape those delicious bits into the marmalade for added flavor.) The zucchini will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a nice vegetable jam.



Says it will keep a month in the fridge, and I see no reason why it couldn't be frozen.

Good on toast, in sandwiches, as pizza sauce...




Thanks Jan!  All this stuff sounds yum.
 
Scott Foster
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:you could bake them, scoop the pulp into jars or bags and freeze it for later use.  Squash, like zucchini, can be used to make bread..   Great job growing so much great looking squash.

At the moment I'm thinking my only option is composting it.  

It certainly could be a great source of composting material if one wanted to grow squash for that purpose.  Especially since squash also produce a lot of seeds so that a person could create a lot of squash to make a lot of compost...  :)  I've considered it. 



Thanks!  These beds are three years old I think they have hit a sweet spot.   I’d like to say I did something special but these babies are on auto-pilot 😁
 
Scott Foster
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
If some of those varieties were allowed to mature on the vine, they would make decent, long-storing winter squash.



I’m not sure what kind of squash these are.  I had a bunch sprout from a squash I crashed and threw back into the bed.  I think some of them crossed with a pumpkin.   The only way I have cooked them is skinned and chopped and then baked with olive oil.  All have been tasty.  The Zuch is a volunteer.  I only planted
One variety of squash I got from baker creek.
 
Scott Foster
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Michelle Bisson wrote:I love squash…..

It looks like the kind that can be store long term as is.  I put my squash in a cooler room and it lasted 9 months.  One has spoiled about 5 months ago, so I composted it, but I just cooked my last one last week.

I cook one each week and what I do not eat that week, I then freeze.

You can add squash to cookies.  I make a dyhydrated cookies: squash, ripe bananas, cooked squash, maple syrup, sunflower seeds, shelled pumpkin seeds, pumpkin spice and oatmeal.  Mix it without other liquid, so adjust your ingredients to make it work.  Each time, it a bit different.  Then I flatten it into cookie shapes and dyhydrate it.  Make a tasty cookie.


Also, I love making squash compote.  Cooked squash, maple syrup, pumpkin spice and any fruit I have on hand.  Cook on low to evaporate extra moisture or once it is cooked, I add dried fruit & chia seeds to absorb extra moisture.  I then use it on toast like jam or add it to smoothies.  I really love peanut butter & squash compote on toast so much that I eat it a few times per week.

You can also mash cooked squash and carrots as a side dish.  Squash is a very versatile fruit.

If you can it, it must be well canned as solid foods need more time to be properly canned.  I prefer freezing cooked squash since it is less work and less risky and I currently have space for it in the freezer as needed.  I hope one day that I will grow 52 squash, one for each week of the year.  I think of squash as a staple food.  Easy to store, easy to cook and tastes great by itself or blends well with other foods.

I am growing squash for the first time this year (grew zuchinni other years).  I will not get close to 52 squash, as I only have a few plants to experiment this year. 

If you still have too much squash, give it to friends and neighbours who do not grow or donate it to the food bank.






You should write a cookbook 😁
 
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We freeze all of our surplus summer squash.  Typically, we cut half into bite-sized cubes, and we grate the other half.  We don't blanch it or anything - just cut/grate, squeeze out excess liquid, and into the freezer it goes (we vacuum seal it, but that's a lot of plastic waste; you may want to do that differently).  We use it to substitute for half of the meat in dishes like chili, spaghetti sauce, enchaladas, and similar.  We also bake it into breads and cakes.  Cubed works best for chilis and stews, while grated works better for spaghetti, enchaladas, and baking.  It is very versatile. 
 
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I've cubed and frozen my summer squashes in the past. I will kinda stir fry it with a variety of other stuff. Just keep it at the slightly firm stage. It's also good added to various casseroles.
 
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Per permaculture ethics........share the excess.

In my area, people often share their excess. It's not uncommon to go to town on market day and see a box of limes with a free sign sitting outside the coffee truck. Same with tangerines, bananas, avocados. People will drop of excess garden harvests at the senior center, the local health clinic, our local small hospital and nursing home. The churches often pass along the free produce that gets shared. I've seen boxes of all sorts of garden items sitting at the church door in Sunday mornings, with the free sign in it. Maybe this sort of gesture is unheard of in other areas, but it is common enough where I live.
 
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I love squash relish:

8 cups diced yellow squash
2 cups diced onion
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
3 tablespoons salt
3 cups white sugar
2 cups vinegar
2 teaspoons celery seeds
2 teaspoons whole mustard seeds
6 (1 pint) canning jars with lids and rings

Place the squash, onion, and red and green bell peppers into a large bowl, and sprinkle with salt. Toss to combine, and allow the vegetables to drain for 1 hour. Discard juice.

Place the sugar, vinegar, celery seeds, and mustard seeds into a large pot, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in the squash mixture, and return to a boil. Cook the mixture until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the squash relish into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2-inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes, or the time recommended for your area.

Remove the jars from the pot, and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all).


 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Anne Miller wrote:I love squash relish:





Thank you so much for posting this! Once upon a time I had a similar recipe, but it had lots of spicy hotness that I cannot consume any more. Any adjustments I made just didn't taste right.
 
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Scott,

for what it's worth, I dried probably 100# of summer squash last summer and stored it in gallon bags with silica packets (I dry lots of stuff). The squash was the only thing that molded! Every bag! And the humidity strip said it was appropriately dry. So not doing that anymore. I will admit they were dry but not crisped, because that tends to make them leathery on reconstitution, but its the same level of dry I do for tomatoes and peppers and fruit.

This year I am fermenting quite a bit with some calcium chloride (keeps them a little crisper) and also baking cubed squash and freezing them after baking. They are a wonderful addition to soups in the winter. I like the other ideas on here too.

I especially like the fruit extension aspect, I wonder if I could do fruit leather with it?

 
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Tj Jefferson wrote:for what it's worth, I dried probably 100# of summer squash last summer and stored it in gallon bags with silica packets (I dry lots of stuff). The squash was the only thing that molded! Every bag! And the humidity strip said it was appropriately dry. So not doing that anymore. I will admit they were dry but not crisped, because that tends to make them leathery on reconstitution, but its the same level of dry I do for tomatoes and peppers and fruit.



I think the difference is due to tomatoes and peppers and fruit having more inherent acidity.  Sort of like how you can waterbath can tomatoes and fruits, but you have to pressure can green beans - or summer squash.

You might want to experiment (with maybe 5 pounds of summer squash) with sprinkling the sliced pieces with salt, discarding the liquid shed, and then drying it.  Even better, but making things taste funny, would be to sprinkle with citric acid instead.
 
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My method for dehydrating summer squashes  is to slice them as thick as will fit between the trays of my dehydrator, salt them well, and let them stand in a large mixing bowl or colander until a lot of water drains.  Then I toss them with a basic flavor mixture (a bit of onion and garlic powder, some kind of pepper, perhaps a bit of nutritional yeast, you could go wild and start in on the things that you put into your favorite garam masala) and dehydrate them until they crunch and snap.  At this point stored in a tightly-sealed glass jar they are a snack food in their own right, although over time they soften up again and get too chewy for my dubious teeth.  But they have never molded for me and as they soften they can be easily stacked and cut with a chef knife into small pieces that, thrown into a soup or stew, add a nice rich vegetable character without being specifically squashy. 
 
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I freeze the chunks as well.  I have also dehydrated thin slices which I then store in the freezer. It seems to last better that way. The dehydrated shreds are great in zucchini potato chowder.  Sometimes, I will make a double batch of the soup and freeze half for lazy or busy days. 

I also got a cheap hand held spiralizer thing to make squash noodles. Can sub for spaghetti or rice noodles.  I use them mostly in Singapore noodles or Thai shrimp curry soup. Be careful not to overcook them or they will turn to mush.

Also roasting sheets of eggplant and squash for no noodle lasagna.  Plan to experiment with dehydrating or freezing the roasted sheets for when the season is done. 
 
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If you miss a few and they turn into crappy winter squash, you could always launch them at bad neighbors.

That aside, any excess beyond human use is great for pigs and poultry.
 
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When I have too much for me, I give all cucurbs to my guinea pigs! They like the skin best, and curiously are not fond of seeds at all.
This is a very useful cooking thread by the way!
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Don't throw them out, they may stay just fine until you get back.  Just make sure they aren't sitting on a surface that might be damaged if some pass into the great beyond.



Thanks, Tyler, I just left them out on wood chips and they look perfect.  Crazy.  I came back from time off to about five pounds of tomatoes, more squash, peppers etc.  I'm starting to realize moving towards food-self-sufficient, isn't so much about growing stuff, it's more about storing it.  (At least in my area.)
 
Scott Foster
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Tina Hillel wrote:I freeze the chunks as well.  I have also dehydrated thin slices which I then store in the freezer. It seems to last better that way. The dehydrated shreds are great in zucchini potato chowder.  Sometimes, I will make a double batch of the soup and freeze half for lazy or busy days. 

I also got a cheap hand held spiralizer thing to make squash noodles. Can sub for spaghetti or rice noodles.  I use them mostly in Singapore noodles or Thai shrimp curry soup. Be careful not to overcook them or they will turn to mush.

Also roasting sheets of eggplant and squash for no noodle lasagna.  Plan to experiment with dehydrating or freezing the roasted sheets for when the season is done. 




Thanks, Tina great ideas.
 
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I tried this a few years ago. I didn't need the food, I just wanted to see what the storage length was.

My rule of thumb now is: If it says it's SUMMER squash... it'll keep until Jan 1st

If it's WINTER squash, it'll keep until May 1st of the following year.

Of course, only store unblemished and perfect specimens, in a cool cellar.

On another hand... apples will keep until the following May in a cool cellar. They need to be gone through at least every two weeks to a month to throw out the rotten ones. Rotten ones can be used for applesauce of course. Out of 20 gallons I still had 2 or 3 gallons left in May.

Another note: You know how to make sauerkraut, right? Broccoli is a member of the same family. I have some broccoli in the basement that i cut up and put in brine 3 years ago and it still looks edible. Amazing.
 
Scott Foster
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Tj Jefferson wrote:Scott,

for what it's worth, I dried probably 100# of summer squash last summer and stored it in gallon bags with silica packets (I dry lots of stuff). The squash was the only thing that molded! Every bag! And the humidity strip said it was appropriately dry. So not doing that anymore. I will admit they were dry but not crisped, because that tends to make them leathery on reconstitution, but its the same level of dry I do for tomatoes and peppers and fruit.

This year I am fermenting quite a bit with some calcium chloride (keeps them a little crisper) and also baking cubed squash and freezing them after baking. They are a wonderful addition to soups in the winter. I like the other ideas on here too.

I especially like the fruit extension aspect, I wonder if I could do fruit leather with it?



Sorry to hear about all those squash going bad,  a lot of work to go bust.    I'm reading a book on fermentation as it's something I would like to get into beyond making Mead.  I love pickles, hot kimchi and etc, definitely worth looking into and I love hot stuff so it's a good way to use an overabundance of peppers, garlic and maybe onions.   
 
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Anne Miller that looks really good!
 
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