It wouldn't be summer without endless amounts of Zucchini, at least on our homestead. If you have a garden or a friend happy to give you an endless supply, then you need to learn how to freeze your zucchini!
Zucchini is an easy plant to grow in the garden. We have a great yield of zucchini every summer using our no till garden method, and end up with way too many zucchini's to preserve.
I end up with zucchini's in my kitchen sink, scattered on the counter, in my laundry room sink and they usually end up on the floor and played with by the toddlers.
Anytime I have a visitor, they have to leave with a zucchini. I once saw a lady at the grocery store buying tiny little zucchini's in the middle of August, and I had an awful thought. That poor woman has no friends with a garden.
We also do our best to eat as much as we can during the peak of the season. It's great to eat zucchini fresh in many summer harvest meals like my favourite, zucchini pie. But when you just can't keep up it's time to start preserving it for the fall preserving and baking season.
I've found the quickest and easiest way to preserve zucchini during the heat of the season is to freeze it.
I like to freeze my zucchini so that it's measured and ready to go for my fall baking and preserving recipes.
Zucchini can be used to make brownies, cookies, muffins, bread, fritters and more. Its a great way to add density, texture and flavour to your baking. It's also a healthy way to hide vegetables in food for kids that don't like to eat their vegetables.
Zucchini is also a key ingredient in a lot of preserving recipes, like relish, chutney and salsas.
HOW TO FREEZE ZUCCHINI
When you have an abundance of zucchini hanging around your kitchen the opportunities for baking, cooking and preserving are endless. Don’t want to the fresh zucchini you have on hand and start freezing it!
The easiest way to freeze fresh zucchini is to grate it and store in freezer bags. I've cut it into slices and rounds in the past, but never ended up using it as easily than when I grated it.
It’s possible to freeze your zucchini without blanching it, but blanching it first will help deactivate the growing enzymes that would otherwise cause the zucchini to become mushy.
Other options to store your zucchini longer if you want to keep it fresh is to keep it whole, dry and unwashed. Store in a plastic or paper bag with one end open to encourage air flow and store in the refridgerator crisper drawer.
Most recipes call for 1-2 cups of zucchini. If you're like me and like to double your recipes then I suggest you freeze your zucchini in two cup measures.
You'll need the following,
Proper packaging- I used Ziploc Freezer Bags for everything. Options include a zaccum packing, wax paper, brown butcher paper, plastic wrap or plastic containers.
However you freeze your shredded zucchini, your packaging should be moisture proof, vapour proof, leak proof and provide a flavour barrier.
Cheese grater. I suggest a cheese grater that has a handle and better yet a measuring basin to easily transfer the zucchini to the freezer packing material.
Liquid Measure. I love my glass liquid measuring set. They are fool proof.
Start by washing your zucchini's. If they've been on the floor, and played with by the kids like half of mine and coming straight from the garden you'll want to rinse them.
If your zucchinis are quite large, I suggest you cut them in half and remove the seeds. Did you know that Zuchinni seeds can be roasted like pumpkin seeds too?
Save them too roast, or feed them to your chickens. Zuchinni seeds have great benefits for chickens.
Plus a fun benefit is that you might just end up with a few plants in your chicken coop next spring!
Corsely grate the zucchini and measure into two cup measures.
You'll notice that my zucchini is yellow. It's just a different variety of zucchini than the standard green.
I like to grow a rainbow of vegetables in my garden. Theres no taste difference and I prefer the look of yellow over green in my baking. – But that's me.
Place the zucchini in the packing material. Some people often ask if you should salt and dry your zucchini to remove extra moisture before freezing. I suggest that you don't. Once you defrost the zucchini it's easy to drain the grated zucchini in a colander.
I had three large zucchinis and ended up with 9 packages of 2 cup measures. That's enough for 18 baking recipes that call for 1 cup measure of grated zucchini.
This zucchini was enough for my baking throughout the winter and spring.
It feels good to get that in the freezer, and move on to the rest of the summer harvest like preserving endless amounts of apples and tomatoes.
I like to write on the packages the date and contents before adding it to the freezer. I also record what I'm adding to the freezer on my freezer inventory list. That way I can easily meal plan. I find if I don't, then this hard work doesn't fully pay off.
I suggest getting organized when preserving your harvest, so that you too can reap the benefits of your hard work and enjoy your harvest all year long.
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