Never Say "No" to Zucchini!

August 19, 2011

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It’s that time of year: Friends, neighbors, coworkers, even some side-of-the-road vegetable vendors are trying to give away zucchini.

Our advice? Take it! Use fresh zucchini and summer squash in pasta dishes, chocolate cake, brownies, pizza, and a whole lot more. See over 100 zucchini recipes available on Almanac.com.

Got too much zucchini now? Freeze it! Here are two methods.

How to Freeze Zucchini

Slice it

Wash the zucchini, then cut it into one-and-a-half-inch rounds. Blanch it in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain the slices, and allow them to cool and become completely dry.

Grate it

Wash the zucchini, then grate it.

Now you have two options:

1) Blanch it in for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and cool it. Place measured amounts of zucchini pieces into containers or freezer bags. Squeeze out as much air as you can and put the container into the freezer. Freeze smaller portions in an ice cube tray. When the cubes are solid, remove them from the tray and put them into a freezer bag. Note that blanched, drained zucchini loses substantial volume: If you blanch and drain 2 cups, you will have a lot less to freeze and so a lot less when you defrost the zucchini later.

2) Put grated (not blanched) zucchini into a freezer bag or other containers (in measured amounts), mark the amount, and freeze it. Thaw to use. Your zucchini will retain most of its volume when thawed.

Enjoy it

Use frozen zucchini in soups, stews, casseroles, lasagnas, and more (essentially anything but salads).

With so many options, you’ll never say “no” to zucchini again.

How do you use your zucchini? Please share below!

zucchini plant blossoms

Photo: Zucchini blossom. See how to grow zucchini.

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Janice Stillman joined the Almanac as editor in 2000. When she is not working the words, she enjoys peddling a bicycle, growing things to eat, cooking, and handcrafts (especially knitting because needles and yarn can be taken anywhere).

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Comments

Before blanching the shredded

By Timber

Before blanching the shredded zucchini for freezing, I measured out 6 cups, enlightening for 6 zucchini breads to be made in the fall. After I blanched the zucchini, I only had 2 cups of zucchini. I do it know how to bake the breads now...will there be too much zucchini in the recipe ? Should I have just drained the zucchini and not pressed out the water? 6 cups down to 2 is quite a difference. Normally I shred and bake, but decided to freeze. Help!

Don't blanch shredded

By Becky L Peterson on July 17

Don't blanch shredded zucchini.....

The consensus among the

By Almanac Staff

The consensus among the editors here is that you need the correct amount of zucchini for the recipe. So, if blanching reduced your quantity (which is did and does), then you need to use more of it to have what the recipe calls for.
They also had this news: grated zucchini can be frozen, in a bag, without blanching. When thawed, you have as much (or very close) to what you started with. But certainly more than if it is blanched.
We all learned something from your experience. Perhaps you can buy more zucchini and try the no-blanch method.
Best wishes!

These are all scrumptious

By Almanac Staff

These are all scrumptious ideas, folks! And, with zucc harvest around the corner, LOTS to look forward to. Thank you all very much!
Start the countdown (at least here in New Hampshire) to heating up the oven and burners and cooking up a heap of good stuff!

In a 'Ratatouille' Use all

By Ron Wozniak

In a 'Ratatouille' Use all and any garden veggies, Plus garlic. and a jalapeño pepper. It's great on spaghetti in place of regular sauce

Nothing better then a

By Marie O

Nothing better then a zucchini muffin!

Garden goulash

By Brenda Trujillo 2

Saute chopped onion, garlic and fresh chili in olive oil. Add chopped fresh vegetables from garden (whatever is available) along with squash. I've put corn, peas, beans and celery). Add diced polish sausage (if desired). Lastly add diced fresh tomatoes. Add teriyaki or soy sauce and simmer until vegies are soft. Serve or noddles or rice.

Zucchini Reader Comments

By Almanac Staff

Comment from Peter Rukavina on July 25, 2008

About 20 years I was living in a shared house with a bunch of college students. We each took a weeknight to prepare dinner for the rest of the household. My friend Simon, flush with zucchini from a friend's garden, made an all-zucchini meal for us: zucchini fitters, zucchini boats, zucchini stirfry and zucchini cake.

Comment from Karen Longo on July 29, 2008

I'd love a Zucchini fritter recipe. I love fritters of any kind!

Comment from Rebecca Slocum on July 29, 2008

I made zuccini fritters just a few months ago for a recipe shindig at the library. They were very tasty. Here's my recipe: Zuccini Fritters 3 lg. eggs 1/4 c unsifted all-purpose flour 2 T grated onion 1 med. zuke shredded

In a large bowl, beat eggs with some S&P, add the onion & flour, beat, then stir in the zuke. In a large skillet heat 1/4 c salad oil to hot. Drop batter by T into hot oil, Cook until nicely browned, turn, repeat and drain on paper towels. Makes @ 2 dozen. They may need some more salt after cooking.

Comment from katrina schumann on July 29, 2008

we simply peeled, shredded; put in butter containers; froze; and when cooler in the fall made zuccini bread which everyone loved; they all vowed to do this the next year!

Comment from rachel bailey on August 13, 2008

here's a great recipe for zuchinni fritters 1 med zuchinni 1 egg 11/2c. plain or italian breadcrumbs[i like the italian] 1/2 c. grated parmesan/romano 2 T. evoo s&p

slice zuchinni in rounds, lightly beat egg,mix breadcrumbs and cheese. heat oil, dip zuchinni in egg then breadcrumbs and fry in oil. [fry until the outside is crusty more or less after frying drain on a papertowel and sprinkle with s&p.

Comment from scott colyar on August 30, 2008

hey heres a great idea make zuccinni bread really sticks to the ribs

Comment from Erika Butler on September 11, 2008

Thank you for these Zuccini meal suggestions. I shall try them out one by one starting with Rebecca Slocum's recipe. I am cooking for my mother who won't eat her vegetables and this one may just do the trick.
Thank you again.

Comment from J&S Doan on May 4, 2009

What is the best way to plant and care for Zuchinni in the garden. Also what variety to choos??. Any and all replies and tips would be appreciated. Thanks J&S

Comment from Betty Crepps on July 23, 2009

zuchinni is wonderful fresh vegetable in the summer, as a stir fry. Simply slice a young tender zuchinni, a yellow squash, if available, along with an onion, green or red pepper, into a large bowl. Gently mix all veggies together along with salt and pepper or some creole seasoning (our favorite)

Have an iron skillet hot, with 1 teas. canola oil (heart healthy)...........gently add your veggies to the hot skillet, it will sizzle a minute or two, then turn your veggies over, with a large scraper as if you were turning a pancake. They will be slightly brown, hopefully, repeat a couple of times on both sides. Don't overcook, serve while hot and try a little soy or worchesire sauce sprinkled on top, and shredded cheese is wonderful too, if your diet allows it. Experiment a little and add a fresh tomato too.

Comment from Betty Crepps on July 23, 2009

a great way to save that excess zucchini this summer. Simply wash it, drain it, grate it, peel included. Measure exact amount needed for your recipe, pack it tightly in your measuring cup, since it does shrink when frozen. Place that exact amount into a freezer container and you're ready to go, when baking time comes...............Simply take the frozen zucchini, from the freezer, put it in a collander and run water over it, then drain, in the collander................it's ready to use, just the right amount for that delicious zucchini bread. Good luck and Enjoy!!

Comment from Rose M Wesson on July 23, 2009

Z bread is even better when using equal amounts of whole wheat and all purpose flour for whatever amount of flour is shown for the recipe!

Comment from Edna Fields on July 23, 2009

Grilled! Slice length-wise, brush with evoo, sprinkle with preferred seasons, and put on medium hot grill for 3-4 min per side.

Comment from Bobbie Cox on July 23, 2009

Saute your zuke (about 1 cup) with diced onion, diced bell pepper (opt) and dice 1 very small japaleno (opt) basically you can season with what ever you would like. I try different herbs and veggies, depends on how wild you want to be. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. When almost done add three (3) eggs. Cook until eggs are done, serve with fresh tomatoes, blacked eye peas, cornbread. What a meal and no meat. Change your menu around and add some good ole fried chicken. Just let you imagination go wild. You can do this with just about any squash. The squash needs to be sliced and quartered.

Comment from Sally Parrish on July 23, 2009

Comment from scott colyar on August 30, 2008

hey heres a great idea make zuccinni bread really sticks to the ribs. I would love to have the recipe. Scott did not give us the recipe. Thanks, Sally P

Comment from Helen Faught on July 23, 2009

I offer yet more ways to freeze zuccinni for use either in a main dish OR a salad: Cut two zuccinni into one-inch pieces. Use either alone or add a bell pepper and/or small onion, also cut in the same fashion. In a bowl, toss with drizzled olive oil, garlic powder, dried oregano and salt if preferred. Spread on a pan or cookie sheet and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely and place in 1 or 2 freezer bags. Later, this can be heated in the microwave oven to use over pasta with marinara sauce OR it can be defrosted and served cold with red wine or balsamic vinegar.

Comment from Mary Benton on July 23, 2009

I don't eat zucchinni or squash, but this way I will and so will my children and grandchildren. We love it. I fry them. Slice Zucchini or Squash or both in 1/4 " slices or thinner if you like. Take 1/2 c flour, 1/2 c corn meal, salt, pepper and onion salt and put in quart zip lock bag.
Heat 1" oil in iron skillet, turn down to med high. Place Z or S a few at a time in zip lock bag and shake until covered with mixture. Put in hot oil fry turning until both sides are brown. Put on paper towel to drain. Great as snack or as vegetable with meal. Experiment with number you would like to cook and seasoning to your taste. Enjoy!

Comment from Mary Benton on July 23, 2009

To freeze for fried zucchini or squash. I slice them fresh 1/4 " and put on cookie sheets with layers of wax paper. After they are frozen, I take them out and put them in zip lock bags. That way when I get ready to fry them they are not stuck together. You can take them out of the freezer & sit them out on your counter for 30 min ahead of time and they are ready to fry. Hope you will try this and enjoy.

Comment from Mickey Gray on July 24, 2009

Use zucchini-yellow squash-green pepper-onion-& tomatoes for a fresh salsa. Add juice of 1 lime and cilantro to taste.

Comment from JEANNE ZINDORF on July 24, 2009

Zucchini: Fast Food of the Garden http://holeinthefence.net

Comment from Amber Woolsey on July 25, 2009

What is evoo?

Comment from shirley pixley on July 25, 2009

evoo is Extra Virgin olive oil.

Comment from Karen Hilley on July 28, 2009

With my extra zucchini, I saute onions in olive oil, add zucchini, (salt & pepper to taste) and cook until tender/crisp. Open one can of diced or stewed tomatoes and let vegetables simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender. You can add any spices you like. I prefer the Italian seasoning or fresh spices I have on hand at the time. Delicious! (I have even served over pasta and sometimes add chicken.) We could eat this every day!

Comment from Patricia Roy on July 29, 2009

Zucchini is good fried,cooked,baked,and raw. Fixed with eggplant,hot or mild peppers,and favorite tomato sauce.Delicious.

Comment from Linda Strehlow on July 30, 2009

zucchini chips: slice into thin rounds. Season with salt and garlic powder (or whatever seasoning you wish). Place on trays in dehydrator. When drying is complete store in airtight container. Better than potato chips and better for you! If you live in the desert like I do, you can sun dry them - like tomatoes!

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