Freeze your abundance of zucchini

Editor’s note: Get Growing, provided by the La Plata County Extension Office’s Master Gardener Program, appears during the growing season. It features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.

By Alexis Neil

It is that time of year again.

After the first couple of freezes swept across our gardens, we were left scrambling in the squash patch, trying to harvest every last fruit. The process has left us with zucchini coming out of our ears.

Just to get rid of it, we even had to resort to leaving zucchini on our neighbors’ doorstep when they weren’t home. Many of us have gone through this – carefully planting “just a couple” of zucchini plants so that we don’t have an abundance like last year, only to find that abundance is here once again.

So, what to do with all of these zucchini? Trust me, as home gardeners or their neighbors, we have all eaten our fair share of zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, zucchini lasagna, stuffed zucchini and more. It doesn’t matter how many recipes we try, we just can’t find enough uses for it.

So why not try preserving it? Zucchini can be preserved in several different ways, including freezing. The only equipment you need is a large pot, a grater and freezer containers or plastic bags.

For use in soups and stews, cut off the rind and remove any large seeds. Cut into half-inch slices and blanch in water for three minutes, cool promptly, drain and package. For use in breads, muffins or jellies, shred the zucchini, blanch until translucent (1 minute), cool quickly, drain well and pack in measured amounts.

Pack your prepared zucchini into freezer containers or heavy freezer bags leaving a half inch of head space. Seal well. Once done, you can enjoy your summer zucchini harvest all winter.

For more information about freezing zucchini visit: www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09330.html.

Alexis Neil has been a Colorado Master Gardener since 2012. She lives in La Plata County.

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