If you come home from the market with an armload of zucchini, thinking of all the delicious dishes you’ll make from it, you don’t want that zucchini to go bad before you can use it. This summer squash is so versatile that it can be used to make noodles, bread, fritters, pasta, vegetarian meat, and more.
When you aren’t preserving zucchini properly, it can start to become mushy and mealy. It becomes overly soft and loses its crispness, making it unpleasant to eat. That’s a problem you can avoid if you know how to preserve zucchini squash.
I will show you how to do that, whether you want to store it in the freezer or the fridge so that you can get the longest possible lifespan out of your veggies and not have to let them go to waste.
How to Preserve Zucchini in Freezer
Freezer storage is for when you don’t plan to use the squash for a while. If you bought too much of it because it was on sale and you don’t want it to go bad before you have a chance to use it, freezer storage is ideal. Most veggies will keep in the freezer for a long time, if you store them properly.
Of course, improper freezer storage can result in freezer burn and other issues that make the veggies almost unusable or at least unpleasant to eat. So, how to preserve zucchini for long term use in the freezer?
You will need to blanch the zucchini, and I will show you how to do that. Properly frozen zucchini squash can last for up to three months in your freezer, giving you plenty of time to think of all the dishes you want to make with it.
How to Preserve Zucchini in Freezer
- Start by washing the squash and cutting it into small rounds- about half an inch thick. Part of the reason to cut the zucchini this small is so that you can take out of the freezer only what you need when you need it rather than taking it all out at once. You’re less likely to waste any squash this way, and it’s very convenient for long term storage.
- Take a large pot of water and fill it with water and a few dashes of salt.
- Bring that to a boil and prepare a large bowl filled with ice water on the counter.
- Once the water in the pot starts to boil, you can add in the zucchini slices. Let them sit in there for about two minutes- long enough for them to change colour and become tender.
- Next, drain the squash pieces and put it all into the ice to stop them from losing nutrients.
- Once they have cooled, you can take the zucchini slices out from the ice and drain them.
- I would advise packing them into freezer bags of about one or two-cup serving sizes.
Now you know how to preserve summer squash and zucchini in a way that will last you for a long time. If you get a good deal and find it on sale, why not buy a bunch and save it up for when you need it?
How to Preserve Squash and Zucchini in the Fridge
Zucchini won’t last for more than a few days sitting out on your kitchen counter or in a veggie basket. It needs to be properly stored to stay stable and edible and to retain its nutrients. If you leave zucchini out, it won’t stay good for long, as bacteria will start to grow and the oxygenation process will begin to break it down.
This is why fridge storage is preferred for most foods- it keeps out oxygen and minimises the effects of oxygenation. The cooler temperature slows the process of deterioration down so that the nutrients are preserved and the stability and form of the foods is kept for longer. Your food will still go bad while stored in the fridge, but it takes a lot longer thanks to the lower temperatures and the limited oxygen exposure.
People need oxygen to thrive, and do you know what else needs oxygen? Bacteria. Without it, the bacteria move slower and slower and then die, so keeping your foods away from oxygen allows their breakdown process to decrease. They break down more slowly, but they will still break down. As soon as zucchini is taken from the plant it begins to die, but that doesn’t have to happen quickly.
So, how to preserve zucchini and squash? Well, you need to store it directly in the fridge without washing it or cutting it. This keeps it from breaking down so quickly, and it is a slightly different storage method from freezer storage.
You can place your zucchini into a plastic bag or a paper bag, but here is the important part- you want to leave one end open. This allows for air circulation, which zucchini needs to stay fresh. Yes, oxygen will slowly break down the squash, but keeping it trapped in an airtight container or bag will cause condensation and mushiness. The free flow of air will ensure that it stays crispy for longer.
How long will the zucchini stay good for? That should be about one or two weeks, and during that time, the skin will begin to shrivel slightly, but it is still perfectly edible.
How to Preserve Zucchini Blossoms
Zucchini blossoms or any kind of squash blossoms can be enjoyed on salads or as a garnish on other dishes. They can be eaten in their raw form if you like, and they are a good source of nutrients. You can also fry up the blossoms and stuff them with cheese or tuna or some other ingredient. The petals become nice and crispy once fried.
If you want to preserve the blossoms, you are out of luck. They are so delicate that they will fall apart and go bad quickly, so you need to use them without delay. Don’t wait long to make use of the blossoms or you will lose your opportunity to enjoy this delightful treat.
How to Preserve Zucchini Squash Homesteading Family Style
A lot of people these days are getting their canning, preserving and food preparation advice from the Homesteading Family Doug and Stacy. We can admit to cribbing a few of their ideas as well from time to time, because let’s face it, their food always looks so good. Who wouldn’t want to get a few ideas from them?
So, how to preserve zucchini squash Doug and Stacy’s way? They skip the blanching and go straight to canning their zucchini, but one of the recipes they used was a zucchini relish, which is a good way to add zucchini to tons of different dishes. It can work as a side on its own or as an addition to your favourite burgers or hot dogs.
Canning your squash can keep it tasty and fresh for months at a time. You don’t have to bother with blanching if you preserve it this way. We have only scratched the surface of what you can do with zucchini.
It’s just so versatile that you never really run out of ways to use it or dishes to make from it, and it’s not as overpowering as some other squashes, so it’s more likely to appeal to more people. Now that you know how to preserve zucchini, you don’t have to let a single one go to waste.