A bountiful harvest is often the highlight of every gardener’s summer. Well, for the most part, anyway…
Zucchini can sometimes be more of a nuisance than a bounty. It’s such a heavy producer and just seems to keep growing, and growing, and producing, and producing until you have zucchini coming out your ears! For several years, I’ve had this problem, and no matter how creative I got, even I got sick of cooking and eating zucchini.
I eventually turned to a few different methods to try to preserve zucchini for use during the winter. Overall, I was quite happy with the results.
Here are a few great ways to preserve zucchini and summer squash…
1. Pickled Zucchini
One great way to preserve zucchini and other summer squash is by pickling it! Just substitute the cucumbers for zucchini in your favorite pickle recipe. I’ve tried water bath canning zucchini pickles as well as making refrigerator pickles. I must say that the refrigerator pickles were superior, since the ones that were canned in a water bath got a little softer than I like.
2. Make Zucchini Bread
One of the best uses for excess zucchini, in my opinion, is zucchini bread. Unfortunately, even warm zucchini bread fresh out of the oven gets to be a little sickening after several weeks of zucchini-everything. The solution? Preserve zucchini bread batter by freezing it! Just whip up a few batches of zucchini bread batter and freeze them in large resealable plastic bags.
3. Freeze Zucchini
Freezing to preserve zucchini and summer squash can be pretty tricky. Zucchinis are mostly water, and when they are frozen, this water expands and damages the cells of the vegetable. If you’ve ever frozen zucchini before, trust me when I tell you that this makes for some squishy squash! You can prevent some of the mushiness by blanching the zucchini first; just steam of boil squash pieces for a few minutes, then cool them quickly in a bowl of ice water. Two of my favorite ways to freeze zucchini are by breading it and shredding it.
- Breaded zucchini: Peel and slice zucchini, blanch it, and bread it. Freeze breaded zucchini slices on cookie sheet and transfer to large resealable plastic bag. Deep fry or pan fry.
- Shredded zucchini: Shred zucchini with cheese grater or salad shooter. Transfer to resealable plastic bags and freeze. Use in soups, spaghetti sauce, zucchini bread, casseroles, and other dishes.
4. Dried Zucchini
I haven’t tried to preserve zucchini by drying it yet, but ‘d love to give it a shot! Apparently, there are a few different methods for drying zucchini. The first, and probably the easiest, is using a food dehydrator. If you don’t have a food dehydrator, you can also try your hand at oven-dried zucchini. Dried zucchini can be stored in oil, the refrigerator, or frozen.
The methods mentioned above also work well with pretty much any summer squash. I’ve been able to preserve zucchini as well as other types of summer squash with most of these methods, except for the drying, of course.
Do you preserve zucchini? What methods work best for you?