Tag Archives: freeze

Blanching & Freezing Overgrown Zucchini

Somehow I carelessly missed about a half dozen overgrown zucchini. Since it is early in the season and the weather is still wet, I hoped that they would not be seedy and that I could freeze them. Yes, that is how it worked out.

I had put black several gallon nursery buckets sideways under the enormous zucchini plants that are spreading over the sides of my raised beds.  These zucchini were hard to tell apart from the black pots in the shadows under the leaves.  By the time I realized they were zucchinis, they were overgrown.  It happened during a week of overcast, wet weather.
overgrown zucchini

Since this is early in the season and these are some of the first zucchinis, I had real hope that they would not be seedy.  Later in the season, especially when the drought sets in, these would have been inedible.  These slices are all ok with very immature, soft seeds.
overgrown zucchini that is not overgrown

Only one zucchini was partially seedy, and then only at the base bulb.

overgrown zucchini

Zucchini are diced up in preparation of blanching and freezing.
diced zucchini ready to be blanched

Since the zucchini dices seemed to want to float, I had a round cooling rack that fit exactly in the dutch oven that I used to blanch the dices.  I put the dices in  boiling water and kept them there for 2 to 3 minutes.  I then scooped them out and put them in icy water to quickly cool them.

Since I can’t make that many ice cubes and a trip into town is out of the question, I used about 10 sandwich zipper bags, filling them full of water and then freezing them.  While I don’t have extra ice cube trays, or places to level them in the freezer, I could stick those water filled zipper baggies all over the freezer.  Before using, I put them on a wood cutting board (so I didn’t crack the poly ones) and used an ice pick to chop up the ice.  Worked wonderfully.

use cooling rack to hold down zucchini during blanching

After taking one load out of the hot water, I brought it to a boil again before dumping the next batch of zucchini in it.  I did about 3 batches.  The result is these 11 bags of blanched zucchini.  Each bag is about a pint.
finished zucchini blanched packed in bags

Really glad I could save these overgrown zucchinis.  I need to monitor the plants better.

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Real Freezing Weather Has Arrived

Originally published Fall 2011

Finally, by the end of November, after Thanksgiving, REAL freezing weather has arrived. The late summer squash is gone, as are the peppers and even the sweet potatoes in the greenhouse.

Here are some of the late summer squash before the freezes: (The long vine growing on the right side is an unidentified winter squash).

late summer squash before freeze

The serious freezes finished off these squash. I covered them with a light horticultural blanket and they survived several light frosts, but a couple of serious freezes finished them off. I circled some of the fruit. This vine was very prolific – too bad it was planted so late in the season. This was a mystery left-over seed – but I don’t recognize what cucurbit moschata variety it is. None of these seeds came up in the spring and I’m not sure how this seed ended up in my left-over seed box.

late winter squash after freeze

This plant was an Eight Ball/Tonga zucchini. It was so prolific during its short life. Look at the center of the plant- there were at least5 more baby squash growing. In an earlier post I show a picture of the first fruit of this plant. I also picked several smaller zuches before the freeze. I left these babies because I deemed them too small to try to cook. If you look to the upper left, you can see a baby yellow straight neck squash. I harvested a few straight neck squash before the freeze. It is a real shame that squash plants don’t grow this well in the too-hot, too-dry summers around these parts. Oh, to be just a couple of hundred miles north – gardening would be so much better.

late summer squash after freeze

If you look back to the first pic, you will see a late season watermelon in the upper right. This melon was growing in the summer and survived the spider mites. It kept growing after all of the other melons were harvested and the vines died. But, alas, as the weather cooled into the 80s, it was too cool for the melon to thrive!! It never grew much and that fruit never got any bigger. Interesting. Everything in it’s season, right?

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