Six Ways to Preserve Zucchini

zucchini at Root Mass Farm stand

According to my parents, I have been a good eater from day one. My first sentence was, “more mayonnaise, please” and the first thing I learned to spell was “i-c-e-c-r-e-a-m.” Until it got too long, my mom kept a running list in my baby book of the foods I’d eaten and enjoyed. At a year old, my favorite foods were yogurt, bananas, cottage cheese, cheerios and plain steamed zucchini. Thirty-two years later, I still eat every single one of those items with some regularity. And I adore zucchini.

zucchini spread

One of the things I love about zucchini (and really, any other summer squash), is its intense versatility. This time of year, people begin to complain about the influx of squash and how tired of it, but how can you be weary of something that can do so many different things and do them well?

My favorite squash application is one I learned from my friend Lucy, many years ago. You cube up several pounds of zucchini or yellow squash, combine it with olive oil, butter, garlic and a few herbs and cook it down until it has reduced by more than half. What you’re left with is a deeply flavorful, creamy spread. I eat it on toast, serve it at parties and smear it on homemade pizza. It freezes well and does an incredible job at taking a mountain of zucchini and making it feel manageable. Here’s an organized recipe for this spread, that I wrote up for Philly Homegrown last summer.

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One thing I hear frequently from new picklers is how disappointed they are with the texture of their water bath processed cucumber pickles. And I can understand this, because I don’t always love the spongy texture that cucumbers can acquire when exposed to heat (these days, I tend to stick mainly to refrigerator pickles when it comes to preserving cucumbers). However, I do like the flavor of a dill pickle come January and so I’ve taken to turning to zucchini instead of the traditional cuke. It holds its texture better and tastes awfully nice.

zucchini with personality

Another way I preserve summer squash is by turning it into a relish. You won’t find the recipe here on the blog because I saved it for the cookbook, but happily, Aimee made it for a piece on Simple Bites a few weeks back, so  you can check it out even if you don’t have my little cookbook. It’s good on hot dogs, tasty with cheesy toast and stirs into tuna salad just as well as the cucumber version does.

curried zucchini pickles

The last pickle pieces I wrote for Serious Eats before hanging up my In a Pickle hat was all about zucchini pickles with curry. This is a tasty and popular way to put up a zucchini abundance for later in the year.

shredded zucchini

Of course, if you’re pressed for time and can’t spare the moments it takes to make even the most simple pickle, shred that summer squash, measure the shreds into two-cup portions and freeze them. You can bake with it, use it in soups or make zucchini fritters when the days are short and chilly.

chocolate zucchini bread

This summer’s favorite zucchini preservation method has been chocolate zucchini bread. I make it so it’s just barely sweet. To serve, I toast up a slice and drizzle just a little bit of honey over top. I have three small loaves in the freezer, ready for a day when I need a bit of a treat. The recipe for that bread is at the bottom of this post.

How do you preserve zucchini and other summer squashes?

Six Ways to Preserve Zucchini

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (pack it tight)
  • 2 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two loaf pans and set aside.
  2. Beat together the eggs, butter, mashed banana, honey, brown sugar and vanilla. Once integrated, stir shredded zucchini into the wet ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Gently whisk until fully integrated.
  4. Add the dry ingredient to the wet in three batches, stirring well to integrate before adding more.
  5. Once batter is mixed, divide it equally between the two prepared pans.
  6. Bake for 60-75 minutes, until the loaves are baked through and a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Eat within 3-4 days or wrap in several layers of plastic and freeze.
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85 Responses to Six Ways to Preserve Zucchini

  1. 51
    Teresa says:

    Chiming in super-late, but I just found this recipe and have added it to the must-make list. My husband isn’t a pickle fanatic like I am, and most recipes are simply too large, but 4 pints is perfect–and goodness knows I have the squash, or will in a few days. I grew Lebanese kouza this year rather than the dark green zucchini, but it seems to work the same in everything else, so I’m blithely assuming it will for this recipe.

    • 51.1
      Bill says:

      Teresa, I have seen several Zucchini pickle recipes that put the Zucchini into the brine and bring it back to a boil. Is it nessessary to do this. Please let me know…………….Bill

  2. 52
    Kathryn says:

    Is there anyway to pressure can the zucchini butter? I have your cookbook (yeah) and just got a pressure canner for Christmas (double yeah). I appreciate your insight.

    P.S. I gave away jars of tomato jam for Christmas. I heard through the grapevine there’s kind of a black market for it amongst my friends :-)

    • 52.1
      karen in ND says:

      NO WAY! Too high in fat. Too low in acid. freeze or eat fresh

      • Graham says:

        Really? Zucc butter can’t be canned? I would think that if you added enough acid, like vinegar or lemon juice, it would be just fine.

        • Marisa says:

          You would need to add SO much vinegar or lemon juice that it would completely change the flavor profile. Zucchini is very low in acid to start.

  3. 53
    Kristina says:

    Holy Hannah! This zucchini spread is life changing! I made a ton of it over the summer and froze it in little batches for future consumption. As my freezer contents dwindled, I found the little gems lying in wait. I just warmed one up and spread it on a slice of toast. Good heavens, it’s like a little taste of August. Fantastic! Because I have a cheese problem, I added some Pecorino Romano before I froze it. Thank you for sharing this and all your other goodies, Marisa. You’re awesome.

    • 53.1
      Marisa says:

      I am so happy to hear that you’re enjoying the zucchini spread so much! You remind me that I should pull some out of my freezer!

  4. 54
    Melissa Dow says:

    Love LOVE these recipes! I planted a ton of summer squash this year in my first ever garden. I will be starting to can this year for the first time as well. Thank you for sharing. Also, I am excited to read your canning for beginners. I have a lot to learn! :)

  5. 55
    Carrie says:

    Is the Zucchini Spread freezable if it’s made in advance? Looking for zucchini recipes that are freezable.
    Thanks!

  6. 56
    kim says:

    Regarding the storage of zucchini; I love dehydrating the variety I have this year: spineless perfection. It is sweet, creamy and nearly seedless . Sprinkled w/ a little sea salt or garlic, it is even better. yum

  7. 57
    Teresa says:

    Does anyone know if the zuchinni spread can be ‘canned’. I live overseas, and this looks WONDERFUL, but I have so much zuchinni and I’m looking for a way to ‘can’ that wonderful spread recipe??? Any ideas? Thanks so much.

  8. 58

    […] then freeze it, the zucchini will be in excellent shape for use in a future meal.  How about Preserving the zucchini for future use?  Zucchini pickles sound so delicious, and zucchini relish would taste […]

  9. 59
    Rebecca Miller says:

    Have been using and loving your recipes all summer! Regarding zucchini, if I roast it in chunks with onions, garlic and olive oil, can I then freeze it? (Soup base!)

    • 59.1
      Susan says:

      Yes. I do this every year. It’s best to get some of the water out of it 1st–just salt it lightly and let sit in a colander for a few hours, then rinse and drain. Large chunks work best, about 2 inches.

  10. 60
    Nancy says:

    I see so many different opinions about garlic, olive oil and canning, even pressure canning. Is it safe to pressure can ANYTHING in olive oil if it was cooked with garlic? I am specifically thinking of a marina recipe that roasts tomatoes, garlic onion, peppers then put in jars and pressure can. Dangerous? Also many recipes I see for zucchini involve olive oil and garlic…..safe???

    Thanks

  11. 61
    Pol says:

    My garden is producing some amazing zukes, I just did up a batch of the spread (tripled the garlic) and the chocolate zucchini bread. Yummy!

  12. 62

    I have a super abundance of zucchini and no freezer space. I love the idea that you can make spreads and relish out of it. However, I would like to can most of it for winter just as is or with minimum herbs as I will be using it to make breads and soups can you help ?

  13. 63

    […] (by pickling) the bulbs, great for salads. I have found some great recipes on line for zucchini, this link I found really useful with some great […]

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