Preserving Food: Freezing Zucchini To Use Later

Preserving food is not hard. Freezing zucchini is a wonderful way to take advantage of your garden abundance during the winter months. No matter what use you have for zuchinni, you can freeze it.

A little zucchini plant goes a long way. In order to make one plant produce, you must have at least two plants for polinating. Many people plant extra seeds to ensure that at least two plants survive, ultimately ending up with a mass quantity of zucchini.

No matter how many different ways you fix zucchini, it's nearly impossible to use it all if you have a generous crop. You have three alternatives. You can give it away, you can sell it, or you can freeze it and use it throughout the year. No matter what recipe you have for your zucchini, it's extremely simple to freeze it for later use. Always wash your zucchini to ensure that no insecticide or dirty residue is left. Then follow these simple steps according to the recipe you will be using.

ZUCCHINI BREAD: Zucchini bread is a favorite recipe for zucchini, but it is not a favorite item to make during warm summer months when the zucchini is fresh out of the garden. To freeze zucchini to use later in zucchini bread, simply cut the top and bottom ends off and then shread the zucchini (skin and seeds included) using the larger shread pattern. You can do this manually or with a food processor/shredder. Once the zucchini is shredded, check your zucchini recipe, and see how much zucchini you need per recipe. Measure and freeze that amount in each bag. Label the bag with the date your froze the zucchini and the amount (2 cups) included in the bag. When you are ready to make the zucchini bread, take the bag out of the freezer and place it on a plate to thaw. Once it has thawed, follow the standard instructions for your zucchini bread. There will be some liquid in the bag, this is the natural juice that was in the zucchini when you originally placed it in the bag. Use this in the recipe as well.

ZUCCHINI STICKS: Cut the ends of the zucchini off and peel the zucchini using a potato peeler. The reason for peeling the zucchini is to get the breading to stick to all sides. Cut the zucchini into 2 inch sections. If you have an apple corer/slicer, use it the same as you would with an apple to remove the core and create wedges of zucchini. If you do not have one, simply cut each section into wedges approximately 3/4 inch thick and slice off the larger seed section. Moisten the zucchini in water and then bread with a combination of cornmeal, salt and pepper. Lay the breaded zucchini onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper or a paper towel. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer and allow the sticks to freeze. Once they are frozen, place them in freezer bags labeled with the date. When preparing to use them later, deep fry until golden brown. You do not need to thaw them first.

MISCELLANEOUS RECIPES: Whether your recipe calls for sliced, shredded, cubed or wedged zucchini simply prepare it the way your recipe requests and place it in a freezer bag. Label the freezer bag "ZUCCHINI" with the date and the suggested recipe.

For recipes requiring a whole zucchini, poke a couple of holes in the zucchini with a fork. Microwave for 2 minutes. This will release some of the juices and prevent your zucchini from turning soggy while it's frozen. Rinse the zucchini and place in a freezer bag. Label the freezer bag with the date. Store in the freezer until you are ready to use it.

Some recipes can be fully prepared and then frozen. Items such as stir fry or zucchini soup will freeze wonderfully. Simply prepare your recipe and allow the meal to cool. Place in a freezer container, labeled with the date and then freeze the item.

NEVER freeze the zucchini with uncooked meat. If the recipe includes any kind of meat, the meat MUST be fully cooked prior to freezing.

You can also dry zucchini to use later. Simply cube the zucchini and then place in a dehydrator. Once the zucchini is fully dried, place in an airtight container until you are ready to use.

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