I know, I know… You planted one little Zucchini sprout and it took over your garden, giving you back dozens and dozens of cute little Courgettes. But you ran out of ideas on how to use them fresh before the end of the first week they started coming in. We all do! Now, try preserving them to enjoy all winter long!
There are more than a few ways you can successfully preserve soft summer squashes for use over the winter. One thing I always do is make a couple of big trays of Moussaka and freeze them. What a treat at the end of a long, cold day in the middle of winter! You can use up a lot of small ‘fingerling’ Zucchini in Salads and pickles in a variety of mouth watering ways. And don’t forget that picking them young and small is another good way to ensure that you don’t get stuck with boatloads of huge ones at the end of summer!
Fresh is best!
We all know how to celebrate fresh Zucchini: Use in Lasagna in place of Spinach or Broccolini. Bake into any Italian or Greek-style casserole. Think, especially, Moussaka! Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, stuff with a filling of your choice (think Stuffed Pepper or Tomato recipes!) and bake. You can, of course, freeze any of the aforementioned casseroles for later use, but these recipes are always best eaten as soon as they are made.
Make Fresh Pickles using grated, julienned or thinly sliced Zucchini the same way you would use Cucumber. Mix with thinly sliced Red onion or Shallots, Olive Oil, White Wine Vinegar and some Lemon Juice and some sugar, to taste. Add pinches of Cloves, Ginger, Cinnamon, Allspice or Nutmeg, and Curry or Hot Pepper to taste. Let stand to marinate and marry the flavours for an hour or two before serving.
Chutney / Relish
Use the same techniques you would employ in making Cucumber or Tomato Chutney. Add Onions, of course, Indian Spices, Vinegar and sugar. If you love Chutneys and Relishes, you know the drill! Make lots and enjoy all winter.
Yes! You can make lovely Jam from Zucchini using the same techniques that you would employ for any semi-soft fruit. Think Strawberries, Pears, Mangoes and Papayas, just for a start… And consider the delicious possibilities of pairing Zucchini with any of the aforementioned – especially Strawberries! Again, you can make as much as you want and enjoy it for months to come.
Muffins / Fancy Breads
Anywhere you would use shredded Carrot or Cucumber in baked goods, try shredded Zucchini! Think Carrot Muffins or Carrot Cake. The your imagination is the only limit! Zucchini is, by the way, a great flavour partner for Chocolate! Make up lots and freeze them to enjoy all winter.
And that’s just the beginning!
Like we said… There’s no limit to what you can do with your Zucchini bounty! Have fun exploring the possibilities!
~ Maggie J.