How to Store Zucchini From the Garden

How to Store Zucchini From the Garden

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Are you wondering how to store zucchini from the garden? As many of my readers know, zucchini is a versatile squash that adds delicious and savory flavor to all sorts of dishes. Some of the most notable ones include pasta, pizza crusts, burgers, meatballs, salads, soups, stews, and one of my personal favorites, zucchini bread! But once your zucchini starts to turn to mush, there’s not a whole lot you can do with it, so you need to learn how to store it before that happens. My garden always produces loads of summer zucchini, and I love making The Very Best Zucchini Cake Recipe!

It has been a standing joke in our family for years that we wish our other garden vegetables were as prolific as our zucchini plants! Yes, our neighbors for blocks around have been the beneficiaries of our generous plants, and we love to share our bounty.

What is zucchini?

Zucchini is a very popular type of summer squash. It is a long green squash with a mild flavor and tender flesh that has a texture you’ll like to eat. You can actually eat all the zucchini plant parts but the stem. Other types of summer squash you may be familiar with are pattypan, crookneck, and yellow squash. There are other types of squash that fall into the winter category due to their hard skin and tough seeds, neither of which are typically eaten.

Zucchini growing i the Garden

Storing Fresh Zucchini From the Garden

Do you have a lot of zucchini and aren’t sure what to do with it? If you’re a fellow gardener like myself and plan on growing several zucchini plants during the growing season, you’ll need to know how to store and keep your zucchini so that they last longer. Here’s how to store zucchini right from your garden so that you can enjoy them even during the winter season.     

Should You Wash Your Zucchini Before Storing?

You’ll receive all kinds of mixed answers on the internet pertaining to this bit of advice, but I’d encourage you not to wash your zucchini before storing it, and here’s why. To keep your stored zucchini fresh longer, it’s important to keep it as dry as possible. So, instead of washing, take a paper towel and wipe your zucchini down while making sure all the moisture is removed from the skin, along with any dirt or debris from the garden. Once you’re ready to use them, that’s when the best time to wash them properly is.   

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How Long Will Freshly Picked Zucchini Last in the Fridge?

When stored properly in the refrigerator, your freshly picked zucchini will last for up to two weeks. However, if you choose to slice them up into smaller pieces, your zucchini may last for even more than a month. As always, make sure you keep them dry when putting them away and store them in a baggie that’s left open. That way there’s air circulation in the plastic bags and moisture doesn’t start to form, which quickly lessons the life of a zucchini. An airtight container will work to freeze zucchini, but when stored in the fridge, the raw zucchini needs to have fresh air circulating.

Does Zucchini Last Longer on the Counter or in the Fridge?

Whether you choose the counter or the fridge to store your zucchini, it’s entirely up to you, but I’d recommend that you keep them in the fridge or a root cellar if you have one. Not only does this help keep your zucchini fresh longer, but you’ll also be preventing any bacteria that could possibly form on the outside of the squash. The same goes for storing cut-up pieces. One thing to keep in mind when leaving your squash on the counter is that it will ripen and turn soft faster, which means you’ll want to use them sooner than later.

Methods for Preserving Zucchini for Later Use?

Wondering what the easiest way is to preserve zucchini? Once you’ve decided how to store your zucchini, it’s time for the preservation. Zucchini can be preserved while using a few different methods. Let’s take a look at some of them so that you can decide which one is the best and easiest for you.

Blanch and Freeze

Considered to be one of the more popular ways to preserve zucchini, blanching is a quick boiling water process that kills any bacteria present on the zucchini’s surface. To blanch and freeze your zucchini, first cut them into slices or cubes and boil them for no more than three minutes in salted water. Once finished boiling, drain the zucchini slices or cubes and lay them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 

Place the tray in your freezer and let the slices or cubes freeze for two to three hours. Once fully frozen, take single portions of the zucchini out of the tray and store them in freezer bags or containers. The pieces should last up to six months in your freezer!

Pickling

You can also try pickling your zucchini using vinegar as a preservative.  This is a great way to store zucchini for later use in salads, sandwiches, and more! To pickle your zucchini, first cut them into thin slices. Boil a vinegary solution of one cup of vinegar and one tablespoon of salt per quart of water and let the solution cool. Place the zucchini slices into jars or air-tight containers and pour the cooled vinegar solution over them and place the airtight lids on. Let the jars or other containers sit for two weeks before opening and consuming them. You should store the pickles in the fridge after they get to room temperature.

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Dehydrating

Yes, zucchini can also be dehydrated and then rehydrated when you’re ready to use them. To dehydrate your zucchini, cut them into thin slices and lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the tray in an oven preheated to 140°F for four to five hours until the zucchini slices become dry and brittle. Once they’re finished dehydrating, let them cool down and place them in an airtight bag or container. The zucchini slices should last up to six months if stored properly. How To Dehydrate Zucchini-Sliced & Cubed

You can also use your dehydrator to dry out the slices. Some people refer to these dried slices as zucchini chips. They can be eaten like other chips with some veggie or fry dip. Delicious!

How to Tell if Zucchini Has Gone Bad

The best way to tell when your zucchini is no longer good to eat is if it’s soft, shriveled, or has a sour smell. If in this condition, it should be disposed of as soon as possible. Additionally, if you see any mold or rotten spots on the zucchini that means it’s gone bad and shouldn’t be consumed. However, if there are just a few tiny spots or blemishes on your zucchini, simply cut them off and your zucchini should be just fine if eaten relatively soon.

What can you make with zucchini from the garden?

  • Zucchini noodles, fresh zoodles
  • Zucchini boats
  • Favorite soup, just add zucchini
  • Chocolate chip zucchini muffins
  • Loaves of zucchini bread
  • Frozen shredded zucchini
  • Frozen zucchini tastes as good as the day you picked it!
  • Dip in pasta sauce
  • Cut into long strips and fry in oil to make zucchini fries
  • Add to your other vegetables when making stir-fries – adding meat increases the flavor
  • Can be made into a relish for use on burgers and hotdogs

More Zucchini Recipes

Should you refrigerate zucchini from the garden?

I like harvesting my zucchini when the plant is small and then putting them in the fridge crisper drawer. I’ve found the small and younger squash has a better texture and flavor. The fridge helps maintain that freshness longer.

Final Word

The best zucchini is what comes out of your garden. No matter how you choose to store your zucchini, it’s important to remember that the fresher the produce is when it’s first picked and preserved, the longer it will stay fresh in storage. These are just a few of the ways to store zucchini from your garden so that you can enjoy it during the cold winter months! With these methods, you’ll always have some delicious zucchini dishes to look forward to. How do you love to prepare zucchini? I’d love to hear from you! May God bless this world.

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7 Comments

  1. It’s one of them difficult things to store. I had my niece and her husband take it around the neighborhood and share. Even if they declined I told them it builds rapport. They are just learning country ways.
    I sure like zucchini and squash with some chicken and peppers

    1. Hi Matt, I agree, zucchini typically grows in abundance as long as the bees pollinate them. It’s funny you go outside and think you picked them all and then you see some overgrown ones!! We still eat them, but I like them when they are slender and tender. Country life must be awesome Matt!! Linda

      1. It has its moments like this morning when we were wrestling a calf with ringworm. Unlike the cutsie TikTok videos most cattle do not like being treated and massaged with smelly soapy stuff and will fight ya tooth n nail on day three lol
        Just downright unappreciative he was. That’s the episode ya won’t see on Yellowstone lol

  2. The only 2 ways I have “preserved” fresh zucchini is: grated and frozen for use later in cooking; and dehydrated. The grated zucchini I generally use for adding to other foods like meat balls, meat loaf, cakes, cookies, etc. But what I really love to use grated zucchini for is zucchini fritters! I add seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder) to grated zucchini and add a bit of flour and egg to make a fairly dry mixture. Then I fry it in patties in a bit of oil until well browned and crispy – yummy with some ranch dressing. When I dehydrate slices, I typically sprinkle the slices with garlic and onion powder for “chips”. I can also break up the dry slices to add to dips, soups/stews, etc. Fresh zucchini I do in a couple of ways: battered and fried slices; thinly sliced and patted dry for a replacement for lasagna noodles; spiralized and sautéed with garlic and butter for a replacement for noodles.

    If the zucchini is overgrown, I slice it down the length, scoop out the seeds and stuff with a mixture of meat and rice like I would stuff peppers, top with marinara sauce and cheese, bake until all is hot and cheese is melted.

    Other than freezing and dehydrating, I have never tried to store fresh zucchini. If I have one or two, I try to store them in my stomach!!!!

    1. Hi Leanne, now I’m hungry! I love zucchini fritters! I love the frozen grated zucchini to use in the middle of winter to make zucchini bread or muffins. I love the spiralized zucchini! Whoever thought of that gadget is amazing! It makes “spaghetti” out of so many vegetables! You gave us all some really good ideas! Yummy! Linda

  3. Linda:

    Sorry I have not been online much since our car accident. I have felt miserable.

    What I do with extra squash of any type is to can it. When I want to use it I drain it and make sure it has drained well and put a towel over the top of them. Leave them overnight and they dry out real easy and they cook better that way. I notice that here in New Mexico that they seem to over water their squash and it makes it harder to cook. When I can my squash they have less water in them and they fry up nice and crispy when you fry them in a cast iron skillet

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