I love the taste of fresh zucchini! I wait for it all year, then plant it and wait impatiently for its first fruit.
We’re approaching the end of summer and our zucchini plants haven’t stopped producing. The more I pick, the more zucchini my plants produce and our kitchen counter is covered with tasty green fruit.
Is your family getting tired of eating zucchini? Are you running out of recipe ideas? Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy some delicious, home grown zucchini in the middle of winter?
Before giving it all away to friends and family, consider this easy and simple technique, that will have you enjoying homegrown zucchini all winter long.
There’s nothing like fresh picked zucchini. It’s tender and sweet and delicate when cooked. However, the flavour isn’t the same when purchased from a grocery store during the off season. That zucchini had to travel from warmer climates, and as a result became aged. It’s much less tender, hardly sweet and often banged up and damaged from too much handling and movement.
Unfortunately, zucchini doesn’t store well in the fridge for long periods of time. Any left on the counter will mature. The seeds inside will ripen, and the skin will become tough like a hard squash.
As a result, the best way to preserve that delicate flavour and texture, is to process it right away, for later use.
My favourite way to do this is by freezing it. However, you can’t freeze an entire zucchini whole, since it will become soft and mushy when defrosted. Chopping and freezing will also produce mushy textured zucchini, unless blanched first.
Therefore, the easiest and fastest way to preserve it, is by grating and freezing your zucchini into portions. No blanching is required and your zucchini will be ready for you in pre-portioned packages. My favourite way to use this zucchini later, is in baking, frying in fritters, or adding it to pancake batter, or soup.
How to Simply Preserve your Zucchini:
Here are the 10 essential steps:
- Thoroughly wash and dry your zucchini.
- Cut off the stem and blossom ends.
- Slice your zucchini in half, then lengthwise.
- If you find ripe seeds in your zucchini, scoop them out with a spoon. These seeds would be firm and either brown or white.
- Using a box grater, grate your zucchini, skin side in, into a large bowl.
- After all your zucchini is grated, measure out 1 or 2 cup portions into a large measuring cup, being sure to firmly press it down into the cup. The size of the portion is based on your own cooking needs.
- Label a medium-size resealable freezer bag, with the date and portion size.
- Spoon your grated and pre-measured portion of zucchini into the freezer bag and seal your bag half way.
- Lay the bag down and carefully flatten it out, all the while removing excess air, then sealing the bag.
- Place your pre-portioned and sealed bags into the freezer for storage.
The reason I prefer to flatten my bags, is to conserve space. These bags store perfectly on top of one another and take up little space.
How to Use Your Frozen Zucchini
Simply remove your zucchini portions out of the freezer and defrost them in the fridge. When your portions have fully defrosted, add them to any recipe that calls for grated zucchini. If your recipe calls for 1 or 2 cups of grated zucchini, your portion will be ready to go.
When using your grated zucchini for baking, I would recommend using a colander to drain out any excess zucchini liquid. Simply press your zucchini down into the colander and the liquid will drain out through the bottom and into a bowl.
This preservation method saves me a lot of time. It’s pre-grated and ready for me to use when needed. I’m always grateful that’s it’s available for me when the garden is closed for the winter and relieved that I took the time to prepare it. The flavour and texture are perfect too.
Rather than giving it all away at the end of the season, keep some back and grate it for later use.
I highly recommend trying it. You’ll be relieved that you did.
Do you do this with your excess zucchini?
What is your preferred preservation method? Let me know in the comments.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Here are the tools that I mentioned in the post.