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Zucchini

Posted: July 14, 2012

What can you do with extra zucchini? You can dry or freeze zucchini, but you can only can zucchini if it has added acidity as in pickled products.

Freezing Zucchini
Directions exist for blanching and freezing zucchini slices for use as a vegetable serving.  However zucchini contains large amounts of water.  Freezing causes the water crystals to break down cell walls yielding a watery product when thawed and heated.  Frozen and thawed zucchini works better in products that are baked.  To freeze sliced zucchini, cut young, tender, washed, and trimmed squash into ½ inch slices and water blanch 3 minutes.  Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving ½ inch head space.

To freeze grated zucchini for baking, steam blanch in small quantities 1 to 2 minutes until translucent.  Pack measured amounts into containers, leaving ½ inch headspace.  Cool by placing the containers in cold water.  Seal and freeze.  If watery when thawed, discard the liquid before using the zucchini.  Grated zucchini that is frozen without blanching will continue to experience enzyme changes and will become tough.

Canning and Pickling Zucchini
Canning is not satisfactory for plain zucchini.  Because zucchini is a low acid food, it would have to be processed in a pressure canner.  However, the high temperatures in the pressure canner would cause the watery squash to disintegrate.  No canning procedures or processing times have been established for processing of any type of summer squash.

 Adding vinegar to zucchini makes it a high acid food suitable for canning as pickles and relishes. It is often difficult to distinguish these products from ones made with cucumbers. Both the USDA and the Ball® Company have research tested recipes for zucchini pickles and relishes.  Zucchini is frequently an ingredient in end of the garden pickles or chow-chow.  The sugar and the vinegar in pickles and relishes help to keep the zucchini firm.

Prepared zucchini products
Baked zucchini products such as zucchini bread or a chocolate zucchini cake freeze well.   Cool the baked product completely before wrapping tightly to freeze.   Because the zucchini adds so much moistness to the baked product, they freeze solidly and need to be thawed before serving.

Drying Zucchini
Dried zucchini and summer squash make nice vegetable chips for dips.  However, dried squash absorbs moisture from the air and quickly looses its crisp quality.  Therefore don’t remove the dried squash from its storage container until you are ready to serve it.  To dry any type of summer squash, wash trim, and cut in ¼ inch slices before steam blanching 2½ to 3 minutes, cool to 120°F, drain, and place on drying trays.  It will take 10 to 12 hours to dry slices until they are brittle or crisp.  Store in an airtight container or in the freezer.