Freezer Meals – Yellow Squash

Today, I am riding some weird, energy boost wave.  So, as long as it’s here, I figured I would take advantage.

This morning, I spent some time at the farmers’ market, came home, and prepped/froze several pints of blackberries, blueberries, and green onions.  The dogs, braxton hicks, and myself decided to take a nap and eat some BBQ after that, but we are up and feeling better, so I decided to tackle the yellow squash I purchased this morning!

A HEAP.

A HEAP.

The sweetest old man was selling baskets of squash for $5 a piece.  So of course I bought two baskets.  I could’t help it.  He was charming.  The problem is, this left me with what seems like an ungodly amount of squash…did I mention my husband doesn’t really like squash?  So…yeah…well, he likes it two ways.  We’ll discuss that in a minute.

IN ANY CASE, I MAKE THE BEST OF A BAD SITUATION.

Obviously, I needed to freeze the squash.  I went the flash freeze method, like the green onions.  Produce like squash and potatoes also benefit from the blanching method of freezing, in which you pop the food into boiling water briefly, and then freeze.  However, my dish washer (husband) is gone for the weekend, so I figured the less dishes the better.  Meaning no extra pots for me.

Step 1: Get you some squash and scrub scrub scrub.

With veggies like squash that have a nice hard surface, I tend to just scrub them off with a damp rag to get them clean.  I find this removes any dirt on the veggie, not to mention makes the skin look kind of polished, which is always pleasant…polished veggies.  (There is something wrong with me, I’m giggling my ass off at polished veggies.)

Step 2:  Decide how you will be preparing your squash in the future.

As mentioned before, Husband likes squash two ways.  He likes me to smother it with rendered bacon and onions.  And he will eat it in stir fry.  Which is great, because both ways are easy, and while smothering something in a little bacon grease kind of defeats the health factor, at least I know vegetables are entering his body some kind of way.  The man loves ravioli…I do what I can.  ANYWAYS, it is important to figure out how you will use your squash before you get to chopping.  When I smother squash, I like to slice it into thin discs and for use in stir fry, I like to cut little strips.  If you plan on using it in stews or soups or want to roast it, you may prefer to cut it into chunks.

Remember, when cutting things, measure twice, cut once.  Well…that might be carpentry.  Whatever.

Step 3:  Cut, cut, cut!

DSC_0570_030

I included step 2 for a reason.  Because I rather haphazardly decided that I would use all my squash for smothering.  Then, as I gazed at my pans of sliced squash, I remembered I also wanted strips for stir fry.  Luckily, it was a situation that was easily remedied.

SO MANY SLICES OF SQUASH.  Oh yeah...I didn't mean to slice them all up...

SO MANY SLICES OF SQUASH. Oh yeah…I didn’t mean to slice them all up…

I went back and sliced up a pan.  BOOM.  Problem solved.

I went back and sliced up a pan into strips. BOOM. Problem solved.

Pro-tip:  when slicing your squash, try to keep the slices the same width so that they all cook up the same.  Unless you are like me, and tend to cut first, ask questions later.  In which case, you cut those bastards up however you want and if somebody says something about your wonky squash, just kind of wave your knife around until they shut up.

Step 4:  Ice, Ice, Baby!

Time for the all important flash freeze!  Arrange your squash in a thin-ish layer in your pan and place in your freezer.  The squash will need between 2-4 hours to freeze.  Once it is frozen, throw it into baggies and pop it back into the freezer until you are ready to use them!

So. Much. Squash.

So. Much. Squash.

Optional Step 6:  A snack for the dogs

Squash is a people food that puppies can also eat.  HOWEVER, UNLESS YOU WANT YOUR DOG TO HAVE THE SHITS, ONLY GIVE THEM A COUPLE PIECES.  I saved the ends of my squash and gave each of my puppies two pieces.  Squash, much like many other fruits and veggies, can be a little tough on puppy digestive systems when raw.  Hence, give them a small amount.  And I’m gonna be honest with you….they will eat the first one…and then chew up the second one into a billion pieces all over your carpet.

Puppy snack!  I gave the dogs a couple, then tossed the rest into a bag and stuck them in the fridge for later use.

Puppy snack! I gave the dogs a couple, then tossed the rest into a bag and stuck them in the fridge for later use.

Don't mind me, just making an OBNOXIOUS mess all over the place.

Don’t mind me, just making an OBNOXIOUS mess all over the place.

Freezer Meals – Green Onions

When the hubz is away, the wife will play!

And by away, I mean off to our nephew’s baptism.

And by play, I mean wobble around the farmers’ market at 7 in the morning.

First off, let me say that I can count on one hand the number of times I have been to a farmers’ market.  It just was never really a priority when I was younger (I was that kid who bought a fifth of jack instead of vegetables when I was in college…we all have our moments) and as a newlywed couple, we barely had money to buy a .50 cent packet of mashed potatoes, much less a bushel of fresh apples from a farmer!  Fast forward a couple years, and my oh my, the Clawsons have become more aware of what goes into our bodies.

Now…I DID have a carrot cake cupcake yesterday…but that doesn’t count.  But I digress…

With 36 weeks of pregnancy down, the fact that our lives are about to be turned upside down has me in a tizzy.  And so I have decided to tackle the feeling of impending (not doom…I mean, it’s a baby that we prayed and prayed for…maybe impending…poop? crying? sleepless nights?) stress (yeah, stress!) by stocking our freezer and pantry with staples that will last us a couple months.  So, when I hit up the farmers’ market this morning, it was with the intention of securing a bunch of deliciousness that can be frozen and used at a later date!

First up – Green Onions!

 

ARE YOU NOT IMPRESSED?!

ARE YOU NOT IMPRESSED?!  (I know, I know…it’s entertained…but aren’t these babies impressive?!)

 

I LOVE onions.  My poor husband.  I am one well seasoned lady.  And green onions are especially delicious!  Such a mild onion flavor, but super fresh and gorgeous color!

But, I wasn’t wholly sure if I could actually freeze green onions.  Obviously, by freezing them, you lose the crispness of a fresh green onion.  However, my intention for these will be to toss them into soups, gumbo, jambalaya, eggs, fried rice, etc.  Frozen green onions are perfect for recipes like this!  THEN I remembered that my Dad froze home grown herbs and veggies for years.  So, courtesy of the patriarch of our family, here’s a few tips for freezing fresh green  onions!

Step 1:  Procure green onions.

Got ’em?  K, great.

Step 2: Rinse your green onions and pat them dry.

I feel like these are pretty obvious steps…BUT, unless you buy these onions from organic farmers or you grew them yourself, at the very least you will want to run them under some water.  I like to wash my produce in a sink of 5 parts water, 1 part vinegar.  I have seen many different suggestions for rinsing your produce, this just works well for me.  And I have yet to find buggies or clods of dirt in my frozen goodies.  Once my onions were rinsed, I laid them down on a napkin, and patted them dry.

Step 3:  Cut off the ends – But hold onto them!

Don't throw these babies away!

Don’t throw these babies away!

I lopped off the ends of my green onions and set them aside in a ziploc bag.  See all those gorgeous roots still attached?  You can plant these little bulbs and grow more green onions at your home!  There are a couple ways to do this, in water or dirt.  Check out this post on regrowing green onions!  I will be using the dirt method, since the bulbs on my onions are pretty large.  I just need my husband to carry some dirt to the back yard for me, and we will be in business!  (Any other pregnant ladies ready to do heavy lifting again?  I know I am!)

Step 4:  Get to chopping!

That poor knife...can you tell it's my favorite?

That poor knife…can you tell it’s my favorite?

Snag your favorite, sharp knife (the more worn the better…note the loss of the red on the handle…classy) and slice up your green onions.  As I was slicing, I pulled off any icky parts and kept only the crisp green onion stalks.  I also tend to cut a little further down the onion itself than most people do.  There is a lot of flavor in the light green part at the bottom and no sense in tossing it out!

Step 5:  Flash freeze

I had three trays.  THREE.

I had three trays. THREE.

Once all your onions are chopped up, sprinkle them in a thin layer on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  I ended up needing three pans for all of my green onions.  (We will be eating green onions with EVERYTHING.)  Stick those pans into a freezer and give them an hour or so.  They are pretty tiny and delicate, so it shouldn’t take long to freeze them.  I think this is a pretty important step and not one to skip.  By spreading them out, you freeze each little piece almost individually, so that they don’t freeze in a big giant brick of onion.

Step 6:  Place into your container!

When my dad freezes herbs and green onions, he likes to freeze them in mason jars.  However, our little chest freezer doesn’t quite have the room for the shit ton of mason jars that I would need.  SO, I will be tossing ours into ziploc bags.  Be sure to get out as much air as you can, as that will save your sweet little onions from freezer burn!

According to Dad, these green onions should keep for 3-6 months, at least!  How awesome!

Check back later for more freezer tips and freezer meals!

Optional Step 7:  It doesn’t hurt to have an adorable sous chef…

Don't you love the jack russell grin?  :)

Don’t you love the jack russell grin? 🙂