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This Wednesday, August 8th, is National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. Yes, really.
Zucchini does seem to be the one vegetable of which I often do have an over-abundance. So what can I do with it?
While I don’t “sneak” it onto my neighbor’s porch, I do offer them bags of zucchini, even with a copy of my grandmother’s zucchini bread recipe. I make zucchini-parmesan crisps and I freeze a lot.
To freeze zucchini, cut it into bite-sized pieces and “blanch” (place in boiling water) for 45 seconds. Immediately drain and put into ice water to stop cooking. Drain well and spread on a foil-lined cookie sheet and freeze. Remove from sheet and place in freezer bags.
If you want shredded zucchini for bread, you can simply shred, pack into freezer bags and freeze. I freeze shredded zucchini in two cup portions since that is the quantity called for in my recipe.
If you have an abundance of yellow squash in addition to your zucchini, mix them together and freeze. When you’re ready to make soups, etc. later that winter, you have them all ready to add.
Blanch green beans for two to three minutes; cool in an ice bath, drain and freeze.
Tomatoes can be frozen without blanching first. Lay slices on a foil-lined sheet pan and freeze. Remove and place in freezer bags—this way they don’t freeze into one big “glob” of tomatoes. Because they get soft after defrosting, they’re best tossed into soups or sauces.
You can peel and dice winter squash (like butternut or acorn) and freeze without any additional preparation. You can also oven-bake it, then scoop out cooked flesh into individual servings and freeze them.
Dice or slice and freeze. No blanching necessary.
Yes, you can freeze cukes. When they defrost, however, they are “mush.” Still, you can add frozen slices to water, along with a sprig of mint for refreshing cucumber water, or you can add the frozen slices to smoothies. Just slice onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and freeze.
One last thing: here is my recipe for parmesan-zucchini crisps. You’re welcome!