Every summer, like clockwork, my neighbors set up a table next to their mailbox with extra zucchini and a little sign; “free.” People sometimes take a few, but the stack doesn’t disappear until the first frost ends the zucchini season. in the same situation? You need some delicious ways to preserve zucchini.
Nothing encourages generosity among neighbors like Tori. We plant one or two saplings every year; Every year we are left with more squash than we can eat. I’ve seen zucchini distributed at food banks, on porches, and after church. I was offered “some extra” zucchini and ended up with a five-gallon bucket of squash. If you’re in a similar situation, I can help you process your extra zucchini.
1. Cold Storage
Zucchini is a squash, but unlike winter squash, it doesn’t store well on its own. Zucchini peels are thinner than those of winter squash. They are not designed to last for weeks in the refrigerator or basement. Zucchini disintegrates quickly, even in cold temperatures.
After a week or two in cold storage, all your beautiful zucchini will begin to wilt. Save basement space for pumpkins and potatoes. It is better to process zucchini immediately.
If you have to wait a week to process your summer squash, store them in a cool, dark place. Make sure that the zucchini are not even touching each other. You should also avoid storing zucchini with potatoes or onions.
One time, overwhelmed with tomatoes and cucumbers, I tried to freeze my spare zucchini. I thawed them in quart-sized freezer bags and waited out the winter for easy-access zucchini. But when I took them out, the grated squash was mushy, wet, and practically useless. It was fine to be added to minestrone, but it was too wet to bake and disintegrate quickly when cooked.
Zucchini cannot stay in the freezer like this unless it contains other ingredients. Zucchini baked in bread or cooked in sauce, zucchini can be frozen successfully.
Your other option is to blanch and freeze the slices. Wash your squash and then put it in a pot of boiling water for a minute. Then, transfer the slices to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Place the slices on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until the slices harden. Now, you can store the slices in a sealable container or bag.
Start working by cooking some of your zucchini stack. You may be tired of spiral zucchini noodles and pasta primavera, but luckily, there are other options. Add zucchini to that huge batch of tomato sauce you’re cooking. The zucchini won’t be very noticeable, but it adds depth of flavor to the basic sauce.
Cooking zucchini in sauces and soups is an easy way to use up a squash or two. After cooking, you can either freeze or prepare the final product without worrying about taking it out of the freezer. Plus, this method lets you preserve your zucchini in a way that you won’t have to beg for anything other than squash for dinner.
4. Zucchini Bread
Cooking with zucchini can quickly jump into the realm of sweet and savory. With the right recipe, you can even forget that zucchini is in the recipe at all—which is great after a summer full of ratatouille and garden shish-kabobs.
The most popular option is zucchini bread. If you’re still feeling neighborly and generous – bake little zucchini loaves for the whole neighborhood. Or freeze the loaves to use as Christmas gifts later. Zucchini bread works well in small gift baskets. Add a jar of crme frache or cream cheese, a jar of marmalade, and a tin of good tea to the mix. Your neighbors or colleagues will love you.
I love adding cardamom and ginger to zucchini bread and serving with smoky lapsang souchong tea.
Adding grated zucchini to baked goods is a great way to work through the storage of your squash. Zucchini bread, muffins and cookies are great, but also a little out of place. If you’ve never eaten zucchini chocolate cake, try this one. Trust me, zucchini acts simply as a moisturizing agent. This cake is rich and delicious, with no hint of vegetable flavor. It also freezes well.
Baking zucchini into sweet breads or cakes is a great way to preserve some of the harvest for the winter. Baked into breads and cakes, zucchini can be easily frozen without losing any flavor or disintegrating into pulp.
Of course, there’s only so much space in a freezer to dedicate to zucchini. If yours is anything like mine, you’ll save freezer space for more exciting foods—that greens you’re going to get this year for example. Most zucchini canning ends up in the pot.
6. Pressure Canning
The best way to preserve a lot of zucchini is by canning it. If you have a pressure canner, can zucchini on its own or in an “end-of-season” batch of mixed vegetables (recipe below). Like most vegetables, zucchini is not acidic enough to be safely processed in a water bath canner without help. If you have a pressure canner, it’s easy to process zucchini alone or with other vegetables.
A shelf full of canned zucchini will open up an abundance of possibilities for winter food. Pressure canned zucchini can easily be added to casseroles, soups, stews and sauces long after your garden has been covered with snow.
I like to approach canned zucchini from a few angles. That way, I have a variety of preserved zucchini to choose from—not just 35 pinches of salted or mixed vegetable pickles. Think ahead about what you want to see on your pantry shelves in January and do accordingly.
Zucchini cans are best on their own when raw, packaged in clean, warm jars. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each pint, or 1 teaspoon of salt to each quart. Then cover the squash with boiling water — leaving about 1/2 inch of headroom. Make sure the water covers the top of the squash.
Then, pressure process at 10 lbs. Pints must be processed for 25 minutes, while quarts require 30 minutes of processing.
7. End of Season Garden Mix
End of Season Vegetable Mixtures are a great way to lay down the base for a winter stew. Mix chopped zucchini with carrots, onions, corn, beans, tomatoes, celery, etc. Almost any garden vegetable can be added to the mix. Combine two or more vegetables but try to avoid adding vegetables that go rancid quickly with tougher vegetables.
I like to combine carrots, garlic, and zucchini into one easy mix for stew. Onions, tomatoes and zucchini make a great base for the sauce. You can also add herbs to the mixture before processing. Adding the herb now allows the vegetable to actually absorb the herb, which brings a fuller flavor to winter stews.
This blend also allows for quick processing during the busy summer months. Instead of making a big batch of soup to cook or preserve the sauce, you can simply add the extra vegetables to a mix and have it to cook later.
Cut vegetables into manageable sizes, cover with boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Strain the vegetables but save the cooking water for packing the jar. Fill your jars with cooked vegetables, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to each pint, and add hot cooking water. leave 1/2 inch headroom
In pressure canner, process 10 pounds for 60 minutes.
8. Boiling water bath
The easiest and most delicious way to preserve zucchini is to pickle it. It is easy to process pickled zucchini and zucchini flavor in a boiling water bath. Zucchini tastes good in pickles. It makes wonderful bread and butter pickles, snacks, or even plain old dill pickles. Jars of pickled mixed vegetables are a simple, popular addition to winter dinners.
When making zucchini pickle, try adding some to maintain the crispness. In our house, we usually put a piece of horseradish leaf in each jar to keep the pickle crisp.
9. Easy Zucchini Pickles
Spicy zucchini is delicious on sandwiches or as an easy side dish.
A basic, spicy zucchini recipe is the easiest way to work your way through an abundance of summer squash. All you need is a pound of chopped zucchini, a bulb of garlic, 3/4 cup vinegar, 3/4 cup water, 1 Tbsp salted salt, 1 tsp pickling seasoning and 2 Tbsp dried zucchini.
Put everything except zucchini, garlic and dill in a pot. bring to a boil. Then pack the zucchini slices in jars, put 1-2 cloves of peeled garlic in each jar and sprinkle with dill. If you are adding horseradish leaves for a preserved crunchiness, add a piece of the leaf to each jar. Then, pour the hot brine over everything.
Seal the jar and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
If you’re a fan of fermented foods like sauerkraut, fermenting is a great way to preserve your zucchini. If you’ve never fermented foods before, we have a guide that can walk you through the whole process. It is incredibly easy and fermented foods are extremely healthy for you.
Zucchini Chips, Anyone? Cut your squash into 1/4-inch round pieces and put them in a food dehydrator or oven on the lowest setting possible and allow those suckers to dry out. You can keep the dried pieces in a sealed container and they store well for weeks or months, especially if you keep them in the refrigerator.
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Idea Source: morningchores.com
- 1 1. Cold Storage
- 2 2. Freezing
- 3 3. Cooking
- 4 4. Zucchini Bread
- 5 5. Desserts
- 6 6. Pressure Canning
- 7 7. End of Season Garden Mix
- 8 8. Boiling water bath
- 9 9. Easy Zucchini Pickles
- 10 10. Fermentation
- 11 11. Dehydration