An abundance of zucchini from a bountiful harvest means that you get to enjoy sauteed zucchini in olive oil and garlic powder, and other delicious zucchini recipes. But, there are only so many meals in a day to eat zucchini, and it’s easy to get burnt out. Learn how to preserve zucchini in various ways to stretch out their healthy goodness.
Zucchini season comes and goes, and with it comes more zucchini than you know what to do with. Unfortunately, they have a relatively short shelf life and last one to two weeks in the fridge, and there are only so many dishes to make before these gourds spoil.
Luckily, there are many ways to preserve zucchini to extend its shelf life, and some of them may surprise you.
Store them in the freezer for homemade zucchini bread, can them for the pantry, dry them for soups and stews, pickle them for a tasty relish, or ferment them for sauerkraut.
Ways to Preserve Zucchini
After you find out the best way to grow zucchini, you may end up with a stellar harvest. Don’t let your summer squash and zucchini spoil and waste all of your hard work. We show you how to preserve your harvest throughout the winter by preparing them for the freezer and pantry. When does zucchini go bad?
How to know if zucchini is bad is easy. The veggie displays wrinkled or moldy skin, there is an off-smell and the color may be dull.
Ways to Preserve Zucchini and How to Choose the Perfect Ones
There are many ways to preserve zucchini, and it’s vital to pick the perfect gourds for storage. Learn which ones are best to store fresh zucchini long-term and determine which preservation method is ideal for you.
There are several basic ways to preserve zucchini. Freezing is one of the most convenient and keeps them fresh for up to three months. Another solution is to can zucchini, and these last about one year in a cool, dark place.
Quick zucchini relish keeps in the fridge for up to four weeks, while fermented zucchini lasts four months. Another popular preservation method is drying, and dried zucchini keeps for a year or more.
Choose zucchinis that are small to medium in size with a firm texture. Avoid storing them if they have nicks or cuts. If you are picking them up at the grocery store, the freshest ones have tiny bristles of hairs on their surface.
Preserving Zucchini Slices in the Freezer
Can zucchini be frozen? Definitely! The freezer is undoubtedly the easiest way of preserving zucchini. However, blanching is necessary to ensure they retain their color, texture, and flavor.
Take frozen zucchini out of the freezer and add to stir-fry, lasagna, or your favorite side dish whenever you get the craving.
Wash the zucchini and then slice them into quarter-inch sizes. Set them into a pot of boiling water to blanch them for one minute and then move the slices to a bowl of ice water.
Remove them from the water bath and dry them with paper toweling before spreading them in a single layer on a cooking sheet.
Flash freeze zucchini in the freezer or preserve cucumber slices for a couple of hours and move them from the pan to a storage bag before placing them back in the freezer.
How to Preserve Zucchini by Canning
The best way to preserve zucchini for the longest storage life is by canning, just as it is to preserve cabbage and a variety of other favorite vegetables. Canned zucchini is full of fresh flavor, and adding other vegetables and spices makes them even better.
For how to can zucchini, divide the zucchini, tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, dill, pepper, and bay leaves into each jar and set them aside.
Bring the water, white vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil in a large pot, and then pour the hot brine over the veggies in each jar to submerge them, leaving a half-inch headspace.
Screw the lids into place and set the jars into a water bath canner of boiling water for eight minutes. Remove the jars and tighten the lids before placing them upside down on a towel-lined counter.
Cover them with another clean towel and let them sit for twelve hours before storing them in the pantry.
How to Ferment Zucchini
Another way to preserve fresh zucchini is by fermentation. Fermented zucchini has a signature tang with hints of savory and sour flavors, similar to pickles and sauerkraut.
Wash the zucchini and then grate it into a bowl. Transfer half a cup of the shredded zucchini into a jar and sprinkle it lightly with salt.
Continue adding the zucchini and salt in layers until you are about an inch and a half away from the top of the jar. Screw the lid on the jar and let it ferment to produce enzymes for two to five days.
Preserving Zucchini by Dehydrating
Dehydration and zucchinis are often not thought of in the same sentence, but dried zucchini is a trendy preservation method. It’s also one of the best ways to preserve potatoes. Hydrate the dried bits of zucchini in soup, toss them into pasta water during the boiling process and add them to marinara.
Wash and prepare the zucchini by cutting them into large chunks and removing the seeds. Cut the chunks into thin slices and lay them in a single layer on food dehydrator trays.
Set the machine to 135°F, dry the pieces for about six hours, and dehydrate them until they are crispy. Place the dried zucchini into a storage container in a dark and cool place.
Making Pickled Zucchini Relish
Relish is sweet, tart, and tangy, and making this pickled condiment out of zucchini is a great way to turn your harvest into something unique. Add zucchini relish to hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, and tacos for something a little different.
Put the zucchini in a bowl and cover it with salt. Mix with your hands, cover the bowl and keep it in the fridge overnight. Transfer the salted zucchini into a colander and drain it under cold water.
Place the bell peppers, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, and seasonings into a large pot and bring them to a boil. Add the shredded zucchini to the pot and simmer for half an hour.
Spoon the veggies and brine into each of the canning jars, and screw the lids in place. Submerge the jars in the water bath canner’s boiling water and process them at a full boil for half an hour. Remove the jars and set them on the counter overnight to cool.
How to Freeze Zucchini Noodles
Many recipes for freezing zucchini, such as blending them in a food processor and freezing them in an ice cube tray, but zoodles are our favorites.
They don’t take long to prepare, and they keep very well in the freezer. Thaw the noodles and garnish with garlic, sauteed veggies, shrimp, or another favored topping.
Clean the zucchini under cool water to wash away dirt and debris. Slice off the ends and use a vegetable peeler or spiralizer to cut the zucchini into long noodle-sized strips.
Spread them on paper toweling and pat them dry before placing the zoodles into freezer bags. Use your hands to push out the air before sealing to prevent freezer burn, label them with the date and contents, and stack them on the freezer shelf to save freezer space.
Fresh zucchini is the best, and they are tasty in just about everything, from bread to marinara. However, these garden delights only last so long after harvesting, and it’s essential to preserve them to prevent losing a gardening season of hard work.
Fortunately, there are several convenient ways to store zucchini by freezing, pickling, canning, and dehydrating.
We hope you enjoyed learning how to preserve zucchini for year-round storage, and we’d love it if you share our zucchini food preservation tips and recipes with your circle of friends and family on Pinterest and Facebook.