How to preserve yellow squash

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how to preserve yellow squash”, and discuss the different methods used to preserve yellow squash.

How to preserve yellow squash

A study showed that over 80% of individuals aged ≥15 y living in low and middle income countries consume lower amounts of fruits and vegetables than recommended by the WHO of 400 g/d of fruits and vegetables (the equivalent of ∼5 servings/d) (1).

Yellow squash is preserved by :

  • Refrigerating
  • Blanching and freezing
  • Dehydrating
  • Pickling 

Yellow squash is a summer vegetable similar to zucchini and is characterized by its bright yellow colour. Yellow squash and zucchini can be used interchangeably in most recipes and they can be preserved by similar methods as well.

Yellow squash will keep well on the kitchen counter for about a week. For longer storage, they must be preserved by one of the methods given below.

Preserving yellow squash by refrigeration

Refrigeration is a short-term preservation method for yellow squash.

Both whole and cut yellow squash can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 week. However, although most summer squash varieties are subject to chill injury at temperatures below 5°C if held for more than a day or two, cultivars also vary in their chilling sensitivity. Exposing chilling sensitive crops like yellow summer squash to temperatures below the chilling threshold causes cellular breakdown and loss of membrane integrity (5).

To refrigerate yellow squash :

  • Make sure the yellow squash is dry.
  • Place the yellow squash in a clean paper or plastic bag with an open end for ventilation.
  • Place in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

Preserving yellow squash by freezing

Yellow squash can be frozen for about 1 year (4).

Frozen yellow squash must be thawed before being used in dishes. Thawing frozen yellow squash will release a lot of excess liquid which has to be discarded. 

There are two ways to preserve yellow squash by freezing them.

  1. Freezing yellow squash cut into small pieces: yellow squash pieces can be used in many dishes such as noodles, soups etc.
  2. Freezing shredded yellow squash: Shredded yellow squash can be used in baking. 

To freeze cut up yellow squash pieces:

  • Choose young and tender yellow squash.
  • Wash the yellow squash in clean water and cut them into pieces of about half an inch each.
  • Blanch in water for about 3 minutes.
  • Allow to cool down.
  • Drain off all water. 
  • Package into a clean container.
  • Leave about a half-inch of space.
  • Seal the jar and freeze it.

To freeze shredded squash:

  • Choose young and tender yellow squash.
  • Wash the yellow squash in clean water and grate it.
  • Blanch the grated yellow squash in steam for one to two minutes. Steam blanching must be done until the yellow squash becomes translucent.
  • Package into clean containers.
  • Leave about half an inch of the gap between the yellow squash and the lid.
  • Cool the jars by packing them in cold water.
  • Seal the jars and freeze them.

Heat treatment before freezing, commonly known as ‘blanching’, is primarily designed to inactivate enzymes that are responsible for deleterious changes in sensory quality. However, blanching also achieves the objective of preserving nutritional value, particularly for nutrients such as vitamin C that are susceptible to enzymatic oxidation and degradation (6).

Preserving yellow squash by dehydration

Dehydration will preserve yellow squash for about 1 year (7,9).

Yellow squash can be dehydrated by :

  • Using a dehydrator
  • Using an oven

Blanching yellow squash before dehydration would preserve the colour and texture with no change in taste.

To dehydrate yellow squash in a food dehydrator:

  • Clean and wash the yellow squash.
  • Slice into pieces of a quarter-inch thickness.
  • Place the yellow squash pieces on the dehydrator tray. Leave space around the pieces for airflow and consistent drying.
  • Set the dehydrator to 135 F. The dehydration time is around 6 hours.
  • Store the dehydrated yellow squash in an airtight container in a cool dark place.

To dehydrate yellow squash in an oven:

  • Clean and wash the yellow squash.
  • Slice into pieces of a quarter-inch thickness.
  • Place the yellow squash pieces on a baking sheet and cover them with another baking sheet or parchment paper.
  • Set the oven to the lowest temperature. The ideal temperature for dehydrating is 135 F. 
  • Place the yellow squash in the oven.
  • Keep the oven door about an inch open.
  • The dehydrating time in an oven is around four to six hours.
  • Store the dehydrated yellow squash in an airtight container in a cool dark place.

How to use dehydrated yellow squash

Dehydrated yellow squash can be consumed on its own as a snack or it can be added to other dishes.

Drying is one of the oldest and most commonly used methods of food preservation. Drying process involves simultaneous and often coupled and multiphase, heat, mass, and momentum transfer phenomena. It is one of the most complex and least understood processes. Dried zucchini can be used in soup mixes, casseroles, seasoning mixes, or it can simply be consumed as a nutritious snack food (8).

Dehydrated yellow squash can also be rehydrated before adding to another dish.

To rehydrate yellow squash :

  • Soak the dehydrated crisps in boiling water.
  • Let the crisps absorb water for about fifteen minutes.
  • Pour off the excess water and use the rehydrated yellow squash in a dish of your choice.

Preserving yellow squash by pickling

When brine or salt is added to vegetables, their sugars are extracted and then fermented by the lactic-acid-forming bacteria which are present naturally, producing enough lactic acid to kill the bacteria and prevent any further change in the material. The lactic acid permeates the fermented material and gives it a characteristic flavor. The lactic acid has no harmful effect. It is the same acid which is present in sour milk and it is digested and utilized by the body as a source of energy (2).

Yellow squash can be preserved by pickling in a solution of salt, vinegar, sugar and spices. There are several recipes and methods to pickle yellow squash. In some recipes, yellow squash is pickled together with zucchini for a more vibrant final product (2,3).

If pickling is done without canning by a water bath or a pressure canner, the pickles must be refrigerated and used within 5-6 months. If canned properly the pickled will be shelf-stable for about a year.

A recipe for pickled yellow squash can be found here.

Other FAQs about Squash that you may be interested in.

Can you eat kabocha squash skin?

Can you eat spaghetti squash raw?

Can you eat squash raw?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to preserve yellow squash” and discussed the different methods used to preserve yellow squash.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.


  1. Frank, Sarah M., et al. Consumption of fruits and vegetables among individuals 15 years and older in 28 low-and middle-income countries. J nutr, 2019, 149, 1252-1259.
  2. Round, Lester Angell. Preservation of vegetables by fermentation and salting. No. 881. US Government Printing Office, 1917. 
  3. Brandt, J. Pickling Vegetables. 2015. Oregon State University.
  4. Home Food Storage. University of Nebraska Lincoln.
  5. Nunes, M. C. N., E. Proulx, and Brecht Ėmond. Quality characteristics of’horn of plenty’and’medallion’yellow summer squash as a function of the storage temperature. XXVI International Horticultural Congress: Issues and Advances in Postharvest Horticulture 628. 2002.
  6. Silva, Cristina LM, Elsa M. Gonçalves, and Teresa RS Brandao. Freezing of fruits and vegetables. Frozen food science and technology. 2008, 165.
  7. Nummer, Brian. Preserving Summer Squash. Utah State University. 2010.
  8. Kutlu, Naciye, and Asli Isci. Drying characteristics of zucchini and empirical modeling of its drying process. Int J Food Stud, 2017, 6.
  9.  Kendall, Pat, et al. Drying vegetables. Colorado State University. Service in action, 2004, 9, 308