If you’re anything like us, you may have over-planted summer squash. And that means that, also like us, you have summer squash coming out the yang right now. It’s the summer squash-pocolypse. We may be sick of it now but come winter, we’ll be begging for a taste of summer. Squash and zucchini can be so easily preserved in a number of ways besides just zucchini bread. I mean, zucchini bread is delicious but c’mon… who needs 20 loaves of that in their freezer? Maybe your grandma. Like, if she was storing up for the winter church bazaar or something. Variety is the spice of life, grandma! Here’s three ways to preserve your summer squash and at the same time give you lots of different meal options throughout the rest of the year.
1. Pickle It!
Pickled squash is delicious and perhaps has bumped pickled cucumbers from it’s #2 spot on my favorite pickle items. (#1 spot is pickled green beans) Because summer squash and zucchini are crunchy and less watery than cucumbers, they make perfect specimens for the pickle jar. You could go the classic kosher dill, sweet/spicy route like you would a cucumber but I like to mix it up when it comes to pickled zucchini and squash. My favorite recipe is this curry zucchini pickle that I made last year. This year I also tried a tumeric zucchini pickle that also includes onion. It’s a twofer: pickled zucchini and onion. It’s called the Zuni Cafe zucchini pickle. I don’t know why it’s called that, but I know that it’s tasty.
2. Freeze It!
This is a great option for cooking squash later in the year. Wash the squash thoroughly and cut into spears or into discs, whichever you prefer. We love breaded zucchini sticks so we do some in spears for fried zucchini. Then we use the discs for casseroles, adding into pasta salads, a vegetable plate, etc. Then, put the sliced squash in a freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. We got a super sweet vacuum sealer for our wedding and I can’t tell you how often it has come in handy. It was just perfect for freezing squash then vacuum sealing it and tossing it in the freezer. It’ll last so much longer this way but using a regular freezer bag will work fine too.
3. Dehydrate It!
Here’s where it gets exciting, everyone. Hold onto your gourds! Oh man… I’ll be here all week. Slice the zucchini by using a mandolin or with a steady hand and knife. Slice it very thin so that all of your zucchini will dehydrate evenly. Once you have it sliced, you can season the zucchini with salt and pepper, garlic salt or powder, or really any spices you like. Throw that in the dehydrator at 135 degrees for a couple of hours and bam! You have zucchini chips. This is a great alternative to potato chips and tastes great with any sort of chip dip. This is the best way to condense your harvest. Four pounds of zucchini after dehydrating will fill a pint jar (roughly, depending on the diameter of your squash).
Another great thing to do with dehydrated zucchini is to crush it up into smaller pieces and toss it into an airtight container. Then you can add these dehydrated zucchini pieces to soups, stews, pastas, etc. The zucchini will rehydrate in the water or broth and add a summery flavor to your meal. You could also do this with any other sort of leftover veggies you have; carrots, mushrooms, peppers, etc. then mix them all together in an airtight container and make your own dry soup mix.
4. Or you can shred it and make some zucchini bread, grandma.
What’s your favorite way to preserve summer squash?