Did you know that Friday is "National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day"? Right now I'm plotting who will be our victim... (Mwa-ha-ha.)
Even so, I'm still taking advantage of the abundance to stock our freezer (shocking, I know). There are so many great recipes out there that use zucchini - why just reserve them for summer?
Sliced Zucchini or Yellow Squash:
- Bring a stock pot of water to a boil.
- While the water is heating, slice the zucchini in half-inch slices, cutting in half or quarters as desired.
- Once the water is boiling, add the zucchini and cook for 3 minutes.
- Immediately remove the zucchini from the boiling water and plunge it into ice water until cool.
- Drain the zucchini thoroughly.
- Add the zucchini to quart freezer bags, removing as much air as possible, and freeze.
To Use:Sautee: The texture of frozen zucchini is pretty mushy. We will make Balsamic Sauteed Summer Squash by thawing overnight in the refrigerator and patting it dry before adding it to the skillet, but it's definitely not as good as fresh.
Soups: The best way to use frozen zucchini or yellow squash is in soups and stews. It works especially well in Italian soups like Minestrone. Tortellini & Zucchini Soup, Basic Vegetarian Chili, and Italian Sausage, Zucchini, & Macaroni Soup also look tasty - I'll be trying some of them this winter.
Grated Zucchini:I use my food processor to grate the zucchini, portion into bags, and freeze (I have never blanched grated zucchini). I usually freeze two cups of grated zucchini in a bag and lay flat or use 3 cups sectioned out like this:
I like to use the sectioned method because I use less bags and it gives me more versatility when it comes time to make a recipe. I can just pop out as many cups as I need - easy peasy.
To Use:When I want to use the frozen and grated zucchini in a recipe like Zucchini Bread or Zucchini Chocolate Cake, I take out as much as I need and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. When I'm ready to bake, I add everything to my recipe, including the liquid.
I've also heard it recommended to stir grated zucchini into pasta sauces and casseroles for added nutrients. I haven't tried this yet, but I may have to sneak some zucchini into my next Lasagna Casserole and see if anyone notices. :)
Another method for preserving zucchini is pickling. I haven't tried zucchini refrigerator pickles, but a few of you have recommended it. Maybe I'll give it a try this week.
Are you over-run with zucchini? What have you been doing with it?