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.


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


  • 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


  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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111 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.

          • Jessica says:

            Pressure canning does not need an acidic level. I pressure can veggies (ie carrots, corn, etc) in just straight water. It’s what it’s designed for. I’ve also pressure canned chicken noodle soup and plain chicken/turkey broth. There are endless possibilities when you pressure can.

        • Cindy Jarosz says:

          You can can anything in a pressure canner, without vinegar or lemon, i have canned my homaade chili, soup, beans all kinds of stuff.

    • 52.2
      Cecily says:

      leave the oil out and add when you open it. The oil is less likely to go rancid, the jars will clean better. Rather than white wine, what about Sherry or Marsala? Im psyched to try this recipe!.

  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.

  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.

  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…


  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 […]

  14. 64
    Michelle Armour says:

    wonderful article, thank you very much.

  15. 65

    […] you have Zuchini, I found a wonderful article at FoodInJars that shows you six ways you can preserve Zucchini. It covers Zucchini pickles, […]

  16. 66
    Live Peachy says:

    I love, love, love your ideas here. I really want to try the spread, that looks and sounds delicious. I’ll leave some hints for hubby and maybe he’ll stop by the produce stand :-).

    I like how you do Zucchini breads. I always make them sweet like banana bread. I like the idea of making it less sweet, then having the option to sweeten it up with honey.

    Lovely article all around. After I read it, I had to link to it in my canning squash article. Have a great weekend.

    All the best,

  17. 67

    […] pan-fried thick rounds in olive oil and garlic one night. The next day I made a big batch of zucchini butter to spread on toast and toss with pasta. I also made a huge batch of quick zucchini pickles for […]

  18. 68
    Brighid says:

    It’s August and the zucchini is prolific. I’ll be trying some of these recipes over the coming days. Loved the photo!

  19. 69
    Sherri says:

    Just recently found your zucchini spread recipe on pinterest, made it today and it’s amazing!! Curious if you think shredding the zucchini instead of cubing it would work the same? Mine seemed a little more chunky than the picture shows.

  20. 70
    Judy Knox says:

    Google Zucchini Salsa… made a batch of it and CANNED it and it’s great… easy to make.. tastes good.. A little spicy if made as the recipe calls for… this recipe says it’s for 10 – 12 pints, but I actually got 14.
    10c Peeled Shredded Zucchini
    4 onions chopped
    2 green AND 2 red sweet bell peppers, chopped
    1/4 c AND 1 t. Pickling Salt
    2 T Dry Mustard
    1 T Garlic Powder
    5 c Chopped Ripe Tomatoes
    12 oz. can Tomato Paste
    1 T Cumin
    2 c White Vinegar
    1 c Brown Sugar
    2 T Red Pepper Flakes (use less for milder salsa)
    1 t Nutmeg
    1 t. Black Pepper
    2 T Cornstarch

    Day one — Mix in large bowl Zucchini, onions, green and red sweet peppers (bell peppers) and 1/4 c salt. Let stand overnight.

    Day two — Rinse well, drain, and put in large pot, then add remaining ingredients.
    Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 min.
    Pour into Sterilized Jars & seal (they should seal without further work)
    Water bath for 15 min. if they have not sealed properly.

  21. 71

    Can I freeze squash whole?

    • 71.1
      Marisa says:

      You are the first person to ever ask me that. I really don’t know. I’d be afraid that it would get really slimy upon defrosting.

  22. 72
    Fran says:

    I’m looking for your recipe for squash/zucchini spread. The link to Philly Homegrown (from your post) doesn’t point to it. I’ve searched your site, and must try it!!! Can you post link?

    • 72.1
      Marisa says:

      Oh no! Looks like they took that site down. Here’s the recipe.

      Zucchini Butter
      Makes 2 half pints
      3 tablespoons olive oil
      1 tablespoon butter
      5 garlic cloves, gently smashed
      2 large zucchini, cut into a 1/2 inch/5 cm cubes (about 2 pounds/910 g)
      5-6 springs of thyme
      1/2 teaspoon finely milled sea salt
      1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
      Place a large skillet over medium heat. Place the olive oil and butter and allow them to melt together. Roughly chop the smashed garlic and add it to the pan. Add the zucchini cubes. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the zucchini has begun to soften. Strip the thyme leaves off their stems and add them to the pan.
      Reduce the heat and continue to cook, stirring often. The goal is to cook the liquid out of the zucchini and melt it into a flavorful, spreadable paste. If at any point, the zucchini starts to brown and stick, add a splash of liquid (water is fine, though if you have an open bottle, a little white wine is also delicious) and reduce the heat a bit more. Total cooking time should be right around an hour.
      Once cooked, divide the spread between two half pint jars. It will keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge or a year in the freezer.

      • Julia says:

        Thank you so much for reposting! The zucchini are slowing down, but I still have 3 large ones mocking me in the fridge. I was holding out for this recipe!

  23. 73
    sara says:

    So are the curried pickles gonna be crunchy after opening them like regular pickles?

  24. 74
    Chris Frymire says:

    I could not find the recipe for you zucchini spread.. I would like to try it..


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