Five Ways To Use Your Zucchini Abundance
My well-intentioned neighbor has a garden and apparently her zucchini are at their peak because I woke up this morning and found another basket full of fresh homegrown zucchini on my front porch. While I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, I wondered out loud
"How much zucchini can one person eat?!"
These prolific vegetables are easy to grown and seem to appear overnight. They are packed with nutrients and are delicious, however if I were to try and eat them all I would have to have to eat at least two a day for a month. It got me thinking,
“Is there a way to save these fantastic summer edibles and enjoy the taste of summer all year round?”
Low and behold there are actually several methods that work well!
#1. Freeze It.
Simply blanch zucchini and pack in a vacuumed sealed bag for use in recipes later. Blanching is necessary to kill bacteria and remove enzymes that will cause the zucchini to deteriorate. Unfortunately, blanched zucchini will lose some of the crunchiness, but they will maintain the same taste and nutrient levels and stay good through the winter.
#2. Dehydrate It.
I recently discovered during the planning of a four day back-packing trip that dehydrating vegetables is a great way to bring along foods that don't do well without refrigeration. The drying process preserves the zucchini and when reconstituted with water will maintain great flavor and all the nutrients. If you don’t have a food de-hydrator you can use your oven by slicing the zucchini as thin as possible, placing on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook at 250o with the door ajar for 5-10 hours. Turn them periodically. Once crisp, they are done and ready to be stored or eaten!
#3. Add It To A Recipe.
I have found several amazing recipes that use zucchini as a main ingredient that freeze well and can be reheated and served conveniently when you are ready. (See recipes below.)
#4. Pickle It.
While canning can take a little work, zucchini pickles make for a great treat and can be eaten in place of cucumber pickles. Refrigerated pickled zucchinis will last up to 3 months after opening. (See recipe below.)
#5. Re-Gift It.
Lastly, if you STILL don’t know what to do with the abundance of zucchini, pay it forward and give some other unsuspecting friend a summer treat to figure out what to do with.