Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable and there is always an abundance available, more than we can use fresh. Here are over a dozen ways to preserve zucchini for winter. We have used all of them at one time or another. Pick one or two or use them all.
There are many varieties of zucchini, and you will see that we use them interchangeably for different recipes. However, if we find that a certain variety works better than others, we mention that.
Marrow squash is closely related to zucchini and can be used in most of these recipes just like zucchini. The names Marrow, courgette, or zucchini are often confusing. In a sense, they are all the same, just different varieties or harvesting times.
Keeping zucchini in cold storage
Since zucchini belongs to the squash family it can be stored the same way as squash. Depending on the variety it stores well for months. The Dark Star Squash Zucchini is a great variety that has a long shelf life and a great, creamy taste.
Here is a picture of a zucchini taken on January 11th, having been stored for at least 4 months. It has lost its dark color, and I would not leave it any longer. 2 – 3 months is a good storing time. But we were pushing the limits to see how long can a zucchini last. We simply stored it on the shelf in the cold room.
For storing in a cold room choose a good size zucchini, that has firm skin. Try it, take notes, and see how long it can go.
Freezing shredded zucchini
Shredded vegetables are so easy to freeze. Be it carrots, or cauliflower, or zucchini, they are all the same. Just shred them and freeze. No blanching is needed. They are ready to go into zucchini bread or another recipe.
Freeze zucchini noodles
Zucchini noodles, also known as Zoodles, are the new big trend. They are easy to make and just so tasty. You will need a noodle maker/spiralizer. We find the small OXO Good Grips Handheld Spiralizer does a great job.
Strain the zucchini noodles to get as much moisture out as possible and freeze. Because the spirals are small, they do not need to be blanched.
To use them later in cooking, they will only need a minute in boiled water. My favorite way is to put the frozen zucchini noodles into a strainer and pour boiling water all over them. Let it strain and then add to the pan without adding any additional liquid just to heat up for a few minutes.
Freezing diced or sliced zucchini
Diced zucchini need to be blanched. Just a minute in boiled water is enough though. Strain and put in ice water to stop the cooking process, drain and freeze. I find the blanched cubes or slices keep better than the just shredded-up zucchini, but both have their merit.
For pickling choose small zucchini that even look a lot like cucumbers. Or make sliced zucchini pickles. Pickle them the same way you make your cucumber pickles and you might even like them more than regular pickles. I certainly would encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t yet.
Zucchini also tastes good in a pickled vegetable medley.
Making zucchini relish
Many relish recipes use zucchini alone or in combination with other vegetables. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has several zucchini recipes as well.
I like to make Ikra, aka “Poor man’s caviar”. This is a tried-and-tested recipe based on carrots and zucchini from my home recipe book. I don’t even know anymore where I got it from, but it is very tasty.
Freezing zucchini bread or muffins
Bread freezes very well, and so does zucchini bread. Whenever you are making a loaf, make two and freeze one. I like to cut it at least in half, so we can take it out in smaller portions and enjoy it.
You can dehydrate zucchini slices for cooking or sprinkle with some seasoning and make zucchini chips. Both are easy to do and are very tasty. A simple Food Dehydrator works for this, or if you have a Tray Deluxe Dehydrator it would do the job even better. We suggest making the slices at least 1/8″ thick, dehydrate at 125F for 12-16 hours. Store in an airtight container.
I have to admit that this is something that we did not care for so much. The book Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs offers a Zucchini Kraut recipe that we haven’t tried yet. Maybe that’s the missing thing in our kitchen ;).
There you have all our ways to preserve zucchini. What is your favorite way to preserve zucchini? Please share in a comment below.