Preserving Zucchini

Posted in Blog, Bounty Preserved on Thursday, May 04, 2023

Preserving Zucchini

Oh how we love zucchini, and how it loves us by the end of the season! Nearly every home gardener ends up with the same problem in August and September: TOO MUCH ZUCCHINI! Zucchini is extremely easy to grow. It can be planted in almost any soil type and with adequate water, you’ll be up to your eyeballs in zucchini in no time. Zucchini plants produce lots of flowers, which are key to producing the green vegetable that we all know and love. Once you harvest a zucchini from the plant, it gets right to work producing another one to take its place. You’ll harvest zucchini for several weeks before they finally give way to the early autumn. Before you offload your extra onto unsuspecting neighbors or the mulch pile, try a few storage tricks from our pal Eryn Whalen.

  1. Wash and dry your freshly picked zucchini, making sure to remove all dirt and debris.
  2. Process your zucchini in one of two ways:
    • Chop into bite-sized pieces to be used in stews, stir fry, and a wide variety of other dishes.
    • Coarsely grate with a cheese grater and pat away any excess moisture with a paper towel - grated zucchini is perfect for making bread, cakes, and risotto.
  3. Pack zucchini into Ziplock freezer bags, making sure to remove all of the air in the bag before sealing. We highly recommend storing them in portions that you would use in a recipe. If your favorite soup recipe calls for two cups of zucchini, then store 2-cup portions in each bag.
  4. Label the bag with the contents, amount, and date.
  5. Store in the freezer for up to three months and thaw when you’re ready to use it! 

Zucchini is great in soups! And, you can quickly freeze them in chunks to use in the fall or winter during soup and chili season.

Zucchini is a great addition to your smoothies! The taste is very mellow, so you can easily sneak some veggies into your favorite blend. If you want to add fresh zucchini to your smoothie, just reduce your liquid content as these veggies are packed with juice. If you add frozen zucchini, substitute some of your ice content. If you are in need of a zucchini smoothie recipe, there are a lot of examples at your fingertips through a Google search. If you freeze chunks, just remember the portion rule and labeling process mentioned above.

Bread is the beloved traditional use for the piles of zucchini many of us have in our kitchens on a hot August day. Some of us still use our Grandma’s recipe! The trick to freezing zucchini for bread is to remove as much water as possible beforehand. Again, we suggest predetermining how much your recipe calls for and freezing that much per freezer bag. Grate your zucchini into a pile and then place a portion into a mesh bag, or cheese cloth (even a lightweight clean towel would work). Over a sink or bowl, twist the bag/towel tight until you’re squeezing liquid out of the portion. Twist until you get most of the moisture out, then release and place the zucchini into your freezer bag. Label it, and you’re all set for winter-time fresh bread!

Zucchini is a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Stock your pantry with some homemade vegetable broth, using your chopped zucchini and other vegetable scraps you have at the time. Toss some of that chopped zucchini into a frittata or hash for breakfast. Use up your grated zucchini in a moist blueberry zucchini bread for something sweet or an Irish Zucchini Potato Pancake for a more savory snack. Try out a black bean zucchini quesadilla for lunch and a chocolate zucchini muffin for dessert. Impress your friends and family with a delicious Risotto Alla Zucca to accompany your dinner.

Don’t panic when your zucchini plants explode with blooms and fruit this summer; there are plenty of ways to use your bountiful harvest. Whether you chop it up fresh and use it immediately or preserve it for a later date, you’ll find creative and delicious ways to incorporate zucchini into your everyday meals. Happy gardening, harvesting, and preserving await you!

Tags: bounty preserved, Eryn Whalen, zucchini