Thursday, June 30, 2011

From Garden to Freezer

I am really excited to be putting so much produce into our freezers for this fall, winter and next spring. In years past, yes I have gardened with the intent of canning and freezing, but this year I am really trying. I didn't realize until this year how ho-hum I have been in the past. I am hoping that this year is the beginning of our relying on the grocery store much, much less. Not only is this saving money, but the food is so much better for us since we are growing it ourselves and know exactly what is on it (which, so far has been next to nothing).

Right now the squash and zucchini are producing more than we can eat fresh. We have been eating it pretty much every night with dinner. Fried Zucchini, Zucchini Patties, Cooked Zucchini, Cooked Squash (I haven't tried fried squash?), with Roasted Vegetables... but it is still piling up in our frige.

Canning the squash and zucchini are not an option for us. Neither of us like canned squash very well, and I'm not sure you can can plain zucchini (I think it would be mushy gross-ness). We don't eat alot of relish, so zucchini relish wouldn't be a good idea unless I just wanted to fill my shelf space (which I don't). So I began thinking of the freezer options. What would I do with shredded zucchini? I'm not a huge fan of chocolate zucchini cake or zucchini breads (they are fine, just not my favorite way to consume vast amounts of calories!). Can I freeze sliced squash? I can BUY frozen sliced squash...

I decided to go ahead and freeze shredded zucchini. This morning I pulled out my food processor with it's shredding blade and went to town. I ended up with a big bowl full that I let drain through a colander for a bit before I packaged it up (since it gets so watery when frozen). So far I have 19.5 cups of shredded zucchini frozen.

Then I called one of my sisters who I thought had frozen squash before. After picking her brain and finding out that yes, you can freeze it and it's still edible, I sliced up all the squash that was waiting for something to happen to it. I got 3.5 quart Ziplocs to freeze.

Some ideas that I have for using these (but haven't tried) would be:
Create a casserole
Add to lasagna or spaghetti
Zucchini Patties

Do you have any experience with frozen zucchini or squash, or recipes that you use them in? Share in the comments section!


Cate said... [Reply to comment]

Good call on NOT canning the squash or zucchini! I can't imagine that would be very good. :-(

The only things I've ever really made with frozen squash (usually of the shredded variety) is zucchini bread and zucchini patties, and that doesn't really help you much. I like your idea of using it in casseroles though.

Amanda said... [Reply to comment]

I have made pizza crust out of shredded zucchini. It was actually fairly good! You can also puree either zucchini or squashof them and add to spaghetti sauce or meatloaf or really anything else that could benefit from some moisutre and/or added nutrition! Kudos to you for doing so much with the produce your garden is producing!

Saving Our Way said... [Reply to comment]

I have frozen both sliced squash & zucchini & they've been good when we go to thaw & eat them.

Shredded Zucchini is SO YUM during the winter when you add it to a Broccoli & Cheese Soup :-)

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I love squash and zucchini casserole. Slice it thin and mix with cream of mushroom or chicken soup. Sour cream. Some milk. Lots of sharp cheese and breadcrumbs on top. Not the healthiest of dishes but very tasty. O also throw some onion in occasionally.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I freeze zucchini and then add it to my spaghetti sauce...adds some extra veggies! I cut it into half moons.


Jen said... [Reply to comment]

Have you considered dehydrating it? That might take up less space and since it is dehydrated, you will be able to throw it in soups and stews come winter and you would think it is fresh!

mint said... [Reply to comment]

try Zucchini Cake by joy

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

This isn't a recipe for frozen zucchini, but it's a really good (and simple and fast!) one for fresh zucchini. Start with a young zuke (not one of those as big as your leg), about the size of a medium cucumber. Cut it in half (or quarters) lengthwise. Brush or rub it with olive oil, then sprinkle it (moderate to heavy) with mozzarella cheese. Place it about 6 inches below the broiler in the oven until the cheese starts to brown and the zuke is tender. It's really simple, but it is oh, so good!

Tammy K. said... [Reply to comment]

I put frozen shreeded zucchini in my homemade brownies. It makes them even more moist and no one can tell it is there! A great way to sneak extra veggies in the kiddos. You can also mix it with shredded potatoes and use in hashbrowns and potatoe casseroles.

saturn1019 said... [Reply to comment]

I have made zucchini pancakes using a potato pancake recipe. It's delicious and you would never know it's zucchini.

saturn1019 said... [Reply to comment]

I have made zucchini pancakes using a potato pancake recipe. Just substitute shredded zucchini for the shredded potatoes. You can't tell the difference! Makes a nice lunch or dinner.

saturn1019 said... [Reply to comment]

I also add the shreds to meatloaf, stuffed peppers and anything else I can think of.

gina said... [Reply to comment]

I know you will have doubts but THIS is the best recipe for using zucchini. I posted this on a discussion board at Organic Gardening and someone finally got brave enough to make it this weekend and they are all GUSHING about how delicious it is and how you CANNOT TELL it is zucchini. Promise! This is fabulous. I think you could cook the filling freeze for "mock" apple pies, cobblers this winter. I cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Slice each half and they look just like apple slices. My 23 year old PICKY, PICKY daughter could not tell she wasn't eating apple cobbler. Seriously! This is the best way to use zuccini.

gina said... [Reply to comment]

I also add sauted zucchini / yellow squash and onions to my recipe for stuffing / dressing. (bread cubes, chicken broth, sage, egg, etc.)

Candi said... [Reply to comment]

My husband aunt always preserves everything and so she sautes the squash and zucchini with onion and basil until it's just soft and then freezes it in 2 cup portions for squash casseroles. Thaw it and then add it to your favorite recipe. It's so easy and totally delicious. I did it last year and just got a whole big box of more squash from my cousin today, so I'll be busy tomorrow freezing it up.

Georgi said... [Reply to comment]

I would make zuchini pizza crusts and freeze them. They taste great, they are healthy and you cannot tell that the crusts are veggies. lol