If you’ve ever planted a backyard garden, you’ve probably wondered how to keep zucchini squash. Zucchini plants are notoriously prolific producers, and it’s a shame to waste any kind of food—especially a nutritional powerhouse like this one. Not only is zucchini squash rich in beta-carotene, folic acid and vitamins C and E, but it’s also a great source of manganese, potassium and many other minerals. Luckily, zucchini squash keeps remarkably well. Enjoy this summer squash fresh from your garden or market during warmer months, then freeze or pickle it for good eats long after winter has set in!
To keep zucchini squash, you’ll need:
- Zucchini squash
- A perforated plastic bag (to keep it fresh)
- A refrigerator (to keep it fresh)
- A grater (to freeze it)
- A steamer pot with a basket and a lid (to freeze it)
- A container that seals with a lid (to freeze it)
- Ingredients for pickling: 1 lb. sliced zucchini; 1 cup sliced onion; 2 tbsp. salt; 1 cup white vinegar; 1/2 cup sugar; 1/2 tsp. celery seed; 1/2 tsp. turmeric; 1 tsp. mustard seed
- A non-reactive pot (to pickle it)
- A saucepan (to pickle it)
- Pickling jars and lids (to pickle it)
- To keep zucchini squash fresh for as long as possible, choose squash without any visible damage or punctures. Handle it carefully, and never leave it exposed to heat (like in your car) for an extended period of time. Keep your zucchini squash in perforated plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Store-bought zucchini should keep for about a week; freshly-harvested zucchini may last for up to two weeks. Wash the squash just before you use it.
- You can keep zucchini squash in the freezer for baking for about a year. To prepare for freezing, wash and grate small, tender zucchini. Steam blanch it by placing a single layer of zucchini in a steamer basket at least three inches above several inches of water. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil, steaming the zucchini for one to two minutes until it is translucent. Pack the zucchini into a container, leaving half an inch of space at the top, and put the uncovered container in cold water until the zucchini has cooled. Seal the container and freeze it. If your zucchini is watery when you defrost it, just drain off the liquid.
- You can keep zucchini squash almost indefinitely if you pickle and jar it. Combine one pound of sliced zucchini with one cup of sliced onions and two tablespoons of salt in a non-reactive pot. Add enough water to cover the vegetables, and let the pot stand for two hours. In a saucepan, bring one cup of white vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and one teaspoon mustard seed to a boil. Pour the mixture over the vegetables, and boil the mixture for five minutes. Pack the zucchini, onions and pickling liquid into hot, sterilized jars. Seal them and process them in boiling water according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- To keep zucchini squash flowers, pick them early in the morning while they’re still open. Put the base of each flower in water, and store the blossoms in the fridge until you're ready to use them. Zucchini blossoms are often served stuffed or fried and are considered a delicacy by many food lovers.