Saturday, September 08, 2007

How To Freeze Zucchini and Summer Squash & My One Claim To Fame

Summer squash blossom in my kitchen garden

It's a big world out there, and distinguishing yourself from the crowd in even some small way is nearly impossible. Most of us must accept early on that we'll never be an Olympic athlete or an astronaut or a princess, but these days even the tiniest of titles are snatched from our grasp the second we strike up a conversation.

Just finish touring 14 European countries in 12 days? Your seatmate on the plane home did it in five. Was your child reading books at age two? One of the kids at his preschool recited Shakespeare from the womb.

Tell someone you bake your own bread, and they'll inform you that they keep five different authentic European sourdough starters in their fridge and grind all of their own wheat.

Even the dubious honors are hard to come by. Each year I'm nominated for World's Worst Housekeeper, but I never win. The second time my mother arrived for a visit, the first thing she did when she walked into The Shack was hang a little sign on our tacky-but-practical black plastic pole lamp that said Martha Stewart Doesn't Live Here. Out of respect to Martha and my mother, we refuse to dust the lamp.

But I do have one bonafide claim to fame:

I'm the only person on the planet who tends an enormous kitchen garden and yet bought 30 zucchini this summer.

So far this year I've harvested two zucchini from three plants. There's a third one out on the vine, but it's turned a sickly yellow. I planted four other types of heirloom summer squash that are doing almost as well.

This totally embarrassing situation mostly has to do with killer squash bugs and my refusal to use toxic poisons in my organic garden, but I also seem to be having a pollination problem.

2011 Update: I've been taking a break from planting summer squash, but I'm still determined to grow some, and before those nasty squash bugs even show up, I'll be liberally dousing the plants and surrounding soil with food grade diatomaceous earth.

This 100% natural powder (it's even safe to eat) has numerous uses around the farm and garden, including as an organic pest control for both hard and soft shelled creatures. We buy this brand in 50-pound bags (it lasts indefinitely if kept dry), and I use it in the garden to successfully kill or deter everything from sow bugs and cabbage worms to those ravenous blister beetles (you can read about more ways we use it here). I'm hoping it will also help with the squash bugs!

The good news is that I paid just twenty cents per zucchini, because there's only so much you can charge for something that everybody else is desperately trying to offload for free.

Clever and tasty ways to use up zucchini are everywhere this time of year, but many people are sick to death of eating it, no matter how nicely it's served. What you should really be doing with all your late summer zucchini is freezing it for later.

Six months from now, when you're not only craving zucchini but seriously considering plunking down $2.99 a pound for some bruised and battered, rubbery specimens at the supermarket, you'll be thrilled that you did.

Fortunately, freezing zucchini and other summer squash is a snap:

All you do is cut it into half-inch slices, blanch it in a pot of boiling water for three minutes, transfer it to a bowl of ice water to cool, drain it, and bag it
.

Back in 2002, I decided to freeze my first pile of zucchini and yellow straightneck squash, figuring the frozen slices would turn to mush but that I could blend them up into warm winter soups. To my pleasant surprise they emerged from the freezer in perfect shape,* so I ended up turning each package into a quick winter pantry sauté:

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet, add chopped onion and cook until soft, then stir in some chopped fresh garlic and cook another minute or two. Add summer squash or zucchini slices, a quart jar of canned San Marzano tomatoes from the garden (or purchased canned tomatoes), a can of organic garbanzo beans, and a generous sprinkling of freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan.

Cook until tender and hot, and serve over rice or pasta if desired. A hunk of warm, crusty bread to soak up the sauce is recommended.


Lemon zest and fresh rosemary add a flavorful twist to this just-sweet-enough zucchini bread (recipe here). Freeze the zucchini or freeze the entire loaf!

You can also freeze grated zucchini for baking. Just portion it out into the amount you'll need for a recipe (1 cup, 2 cups, etc.), squeeze out some of the liquid if it's really moist (you can use a flour sack towel—these are so handy in the kitchen—or cheesecloth, but I usually just stand over the sink and use my hands), and pack it straight into zipper freezer bags or containers.

August 2011 update: For help with how to use your frozen grated zucchini (drained? not drained? etc.), check out this thread on the Farmgirl Fare Facebook page. And please join in the conversation if you have something to add!

You can pack your sliced zucchini into zipper freezer bags or plastic freezer containers, but it'll freeze better and last much longer if you vacuum seal it with a FoodSaver.

A FoodSaver is an investment that pays for itself in no time, and once you start sealing up everything in sight you'll wonder how you ever lived without one. I use ours to seal everything from green beans to wild venison to chainsaw chains (it keeps them from rusting).

Rather than buy pre-made bags, I've found it's more practical and economical to make my own custom bags using two different sized rolls of the FoodSaver bag material (and I haven't had good luck using other brands).


A whole grain, healthy zucchini bread that still tastes like a treat, made with white whole wheat flour and unsweetened coconut (recipe here).

So as tempting as it may be to toss your excess summer squash to the chickens, take a little time and freeze it instead. Come winter, you'll be so happy you did.

Related information you might find helpful:
How To Freeze Summer Squash: illustrated, step-by-step instructions from the wonderful site pickyourown.org
Quality for Keeps: A Comprehensive Guide To Freezing Vegetables from the University of Missouri Extension Center 

Canning your own food is easy and economical! A granite ware waterbath canner, along with this oh so handy 5-piece home canning kit will only set you back about $30.

What to do with all those green tomatoes?
Make My Super Simple, Salsa-Like Green Tomato Relish!

Hungry for more than zucchini? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index. Enjoy!

*When you blanch and freeze most vegetables they lose their crunch. I actually prefer my squash on the soft and slightly overcooked side, but if you're an al dente sort of person you'll want to use your frozen squash in soup.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the vegetable crazed foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres—and there is never too much zucchini.

77 comments:

  1. Great article. I'll never grow tired of playing at growing my own food, no matter how terrible I am!

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  2. I just shread and freeze my zucchini, no blanching. It turns out fine for muffins and cakes. I actually need to buy zucchini at the market tomorrow since I didn't plant any and my son has discovered he loves zucchini muffins. I want to be able to make them all winter.

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  3. We've been shredding zuchs, skin and all, in the cuisenart and then I freeze 3 cups in each gallon ziplock. That's exactly what I put in my zuch. bread. We also do it with our cucumbers and it makes great cucumber bread.

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    1. do you thaw the shredded zucchini before you start making your bread?

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    2. Thanks for getting straight to the point on how to freeze squash. Most site makes it look. Hard and undesireable. Your directions was great. Thank you

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  4. I am ready to freeze some of mine! Too bad you don't live closer to my house. I'm having a banner year in my small backyard garden. I've been tempted to set some on the neighbor's porch, ring the doorbeel, and run.

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  5. Would you believe I've never frozen any summer squash at all. I guess I was like you, thinking it would just turn to mush. I'm definitely going to try it. No idea why your zucchini isn't producing. Here it's the cucumbers, they're not doing a thing this year.

    Other thing, I'm amazed I didn't know you had a Foodsaver! I LOVE the foodsaver. I use it all the time.

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  6. My zucchini plants did the same as yours this summer in Michigan. I have frozen shredded Z for breads, I love baking in the winter. I also froze too much and gave the icy blocks to my chickens to peck at on those unbearably hot days. They loved it!

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  7. I don't have my own Foodsaver but borrowed a friend's once, and tested it on some fresh basil leaves. I was amazed that weeks later, when I opened the packets of basil, it was still green and delicious. I've never tried to freeze zucchini, though. Thanks for the info.

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  8. We tried growing some zucchini this summer, and despite all our blossoms, we didn't get a single solitary squash. It was so sad! I only wish I knew someone offloading it or selling it at 20 cents each, I'd stock up, too.

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    1. We had good success with germination. There is lots of clover so we have many busy bees. We were blessed with a really good garden again this year.

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  9. Our zucchinis on the farm here have been going great blazing guns (granted we've planted three successions of 40 plants each).

    We grate the zucchinis with the processor and then freeze them directly. As others have mentioned, its great for zuch. bread and muffins, also works well in soups or zuch. pancakes. The breads can even be made with fresh zucchini and frozen as loaves. My favorite thing for grated, frozen zucs. is the "Zucchini Crusted Pizzas" in the Moosewood Cookbook. We also dry the zucchinis into chips with a bit of tamari seasoning; it makes a great alternative to store-bought tater chips. Another alternative is to pickle them. For zucchinis that stay too long on the vine (and grow into massive club size marrows) is zucchini relishes or jams.

    Of course, we haven't managed to eat or preserve them all (we've been harvesting 400+ lbs. per week for the last months) and these go straight to the pigs to eat later as bacon!

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  10. Hi Scott,
    Yeah, successes in the kitchen garden always manage to cancel out the failures--even when it seems like there are half a dozen failures for every success!

    Hi Christy,
    LOL, after reading all these comments, I'm starting to feel like I'm the only one who's never thought to freeze shredded zucchini. Good to know that so many people freeze it fresh--I wasn't real excited about the whole steaming thing.

    As for zucchini muffins, this post was actually supposed to end with my new favorite variation of my beloved bran muffins--Carrot, Raisin, & Zucchini--but it got so long I realized I'd have to write about the recipe in a separate post!

    I'm totally addicted to them and will hopefully have the recipe up in the next few days. But knowing how long it sometimes takes me to get to things, I suggest everybody who's interested make sure you freeze some shredded zucchini so you'll have some when I finally do get the recipe up, LOL. It takes 1 cup of packed shredded zucchini for a dozen muffins.

    Hi Shepherdgirl,
    I've never heard of cucumber bread. Will have to bug you for the recipe.

    Hi Daisy,
    Yes, it's definitely too bad I don't live closer to you! You could knock and stay instead of ringing and running. ; )

    Hi Kalyn,
    Yeah, I can't really remember life before my FoodSaver. One year I was processing and vacuum sealing an entire deer (in pieces of course), and our ancient FoodSaver (we're talking like 18 years old) stopped working. I called the FoodSaver help line in a panic, saying "But I'm only halfway done with this deer!" I'm sure they thought I was completely nuts.

    Now stop stuffing all that summer squash and go freeze some of it for later! ; )

    Hi SCS,
    Feeding frozen blocks of shredded zucchini to your chickens is a great idea. They really do have lots of fun pecking and poking at stuff. Every few months I go on an Operation Freezer Cleanout rampage and give all kinds of stuff to the chickens. Watching them attack all the goodies is better than TV.

    Hi Lydia,
    I've never thought of sealing fresh herbs before. What a great idea! I'm definitely going to experiment. I finally have a decent batch of basil in the garden, and the thyme and rosemary are going gangbusters. Thanks for the tip!

    Hi Jen,
    I wonder what the heck is going on with our zucchini plants? It's so weird--and depressing.

    Hi Serra,
    Four hundred pounds of zucchini a week?! I'm impressed. I was actually going to say I'm envious, but I think I'd probably have some kind of breakdown if I had to figure out what to do with that much squash. Though I suppose it would be a good excuse to buy a couple of feeder pigs to fatten up, which Joe keeps threatening to do (he misses raising hogs). I love that you feed yours zucchini.

    Thanks for all the ideas and tips on what to do with zucchini in the kitchen. Obviously you're a seasoned expert! Zucchini crusted pizza sounds really good--I'll have to hunt down that recipe.

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  11. There will no freezing of any vegetables this year from our little city garden. We got little or nothing from it. I even bought compost to mix in the soil to give it a boost and still we have a lousy turn out. We will try next year and I have even thought about doing a winter garden. We'll see!

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  12. I belong to a CSA in the Hudson Valley, New York, and this time of year have more zucchini than I know what to do with. But sadly I don't have the time to try different recipes, so my tried and true standby is to simply saute cubes of zucchini with cubes of tomatoe and a bit of olive oil til its all almost but not quite mush. I freeze what I can and eat the rest - on pasta, on rice, all by itself, warm, cold, whatever. It's all a blessing!

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  13. i'm glad to hear you can use the frozen zuc for so long. i've got scads still in the freezer, a deterent for freezing still more this year although I have way more than I'll use fresh. anyway, good stuff! thanks for the discussion.

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  14. Thank for breaking the silence on zucchini failure. Who made up all those jokes about neighbors,mailboxes, and too many zucchini anyway? They are NOT the easiest things to grow. They can be the most disappointing plants in the garden. I mean, they grow so fast, get so big, and then--overnight!--they can wither away.

    Early in zucchini season this year, my 3 heirloom Italians were attacked by the dreaded squash vine borer. I have been left desolate by this creature before, but this time I retaliated, organically. First I surgically removed all the critters I could find and shored up the plants with dirt and duck tape (okay, that's not OMRI rated, but it works). Then I got myself a hypodermic syringe and a bottle of Thuricide (Bt- bacteria that kills worms but not beneficials, pollinators, etc). I injected every last one of the vines on those plants.

    Well, they hung on. I just laid them to rest in the compost pile. They were gnarled, chewed, bored... and beautiful. And they left me with several bags of grated zucchini in the freezer. I'm eager for that recipe!

    Doesn't sound like vine borers were your problem this year-- but there's always next year. And there's always hope! Just have the hypodermic and Bt ready, in case...

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  15. I just had a brainwave. I know it's considered better to blanch veggies before freezing, and I, too, dislike the idea of dunking them in boiling water where they loose flavor and nutrients. But you got me thinking... the FoodSaver bags are boilable. Why couldn't you vacuum seal first, and then boil the bags of veggies for a few minutes before freezing? That way you wouldn't loose anything precious. Hmm, I think I'm going to experiment with this! Thanks for all the good ideas.

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  16. You know I really never get tired of zuchini.... I have had to buy lots this summer with our garden being destroyed...
    Great information!

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  17. My favorite way to eat zuchs is to chop one up along with some onion and maybe mushrooms, saute in a skillet with a small amount of butter, little salt and pepper, just until the veggies are tender. I usually start the onions first, then I remove them from the pan, toss in a couple of well beaten eggs, and when they are just about scrambled I add the veggies back to the skillet for a wonderful scrambled egg mixer. Eggs and zuchs are made for each other. Best meal ever.

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  18. I also belong to a CSA, in the Dayton/Springfield OH area, and this year we seem to have been overrun with summer squash instead of zuchchini. I think there was actually something wrong with the zucchini this year - within days it would get moldy, like it came off the vine with some sort of blight. So I've had to be very creative with different things for the squash instead. Last night, I found a recipe online for "Squash Puppies". It's hush puppies, but made mostly with cooked, mashed summer squash. Yummy!

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  19. Ok, you people who shred and freeze - do you squeeze out the extra moisture first? Or just bag it directly?

    We adore zucchini here - my son (13-years-old) loves zucchini pizza, steamed zucchini, zucchini bread, zucchini in soup, zucchini stir-fried - just about any way!

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  20. My housemate and I also tried growing pumpkins, summer squash, and zucchini in our Wisconsin backyard garden this year.

    Just like you, we've had plenty of blossoms, but only a handful of squash, no zucchini, and two pumpkins that we are *hoping* to harvest pretty soon.

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  21. With the huge zucchinis at the end of the season you can also make zucchini curd. I can it and use it for a filler in tarts, tastes just like lemon tarts! Here's the url:
    http://kansasa.blogspot.com/2007/08/g-o-from-this-t-o-this-t-o-this-y.html

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  22. How do I contact you directly about use of your photos?

    Dave
    OrganicToBe.org

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  23. Hi Everyone!
    Thanks so much for taking the time to write--and for sharing all your wonderful zucchini tips. I'm hoping to have a chance to reply to each of you individually later today.

    Hi Dave,
    You (and anyone else who would like to) can email me at:

    farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

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  24. I, too, shred zucchini into freezer bags for future baking. One bag holds fine-shreds for things like tea breads, cakes and cookies; another bag holds coarse shreds for omlettes and fritters. Try it!

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    1. Thats all I do also , but I only use zucchini for baking so it does't matter if it wet I just strain it and bake with it delicious

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  25. I thought my squash failures were simply the product of a novice gardener, so I'm very happy to hear I'm not alone (not that I wish a squash-less summer on anyone!). I had tons of zucchini, yellow squash, and even canteloupe blossoms, saw many big, round bumble bees around the plants, yet ended up with only one strange orange zucchini and nothing on the other plants. Any ideas?

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  26. Hee hee hee, I love Zucchini stories. I also love frozen summer squash of any kind. I shred my Zucchini, then put it flat on a cookie sheet and freeze. That way it breaks up when you put it in the bags and doesn't wind up frozen in a lump. It works great, you just scoop out what you want and use it. I have hidden more Zucchini in food by using it that way. I don't blanch the sheredded squash. But I do blanch the sliced squash. Can't wait to try some new ways with Zucchini. Thanks for your wonderful blog.
    A

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  27. I've never frozen zucchini because I was afraid it would get soggy or water logged. (I'm one of those crunchy-veggie lovers). Of course, like you say, it would still be great in soups. I've never tried the food saver either. I've gotta get a move on here!

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  28. I got door ditched a couple (bags full) of patty pan squash which didn't get their full due. I will admit to letting a few particularly GIANT specimens turn furry in the crisper.

    BAD ME! Next time I will know about your blanching, slicing, freezing process and will not waste the bounty which *magically* appears on my doorstep the second I turn away.

    Plus, Bubba ogles the foodsaver thing everytime we're at the hardware store. Perhaps I'll put it in his stocking and then blame him for taking up space in *my kitchen* with all of his stuff.

    HA! That'd be a good one.

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  29. I am so glad to see someone else who is in love with their Foodsaver! I use mine all the time- one infomercial I'm glad I paid attention to !

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  30. Hi - My zucchini werent producing b/c of lack of pollination, I think! After realizing this, I started going out every morning with a Q-tip, finding the male flowers, getting pollen, and spreading that to the female flowers. After that, I get zucchini! A bit high maintenance, but worth it. I had to also pollenate my eggplant. Sure hope the bee problem abates!!

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  31. hi, i just got a foodsaver for my birthday largely on your recomendations and man, its AWSOME!!! i love it soooooo much! i went raspberry picking the other weekend and froze close to 10 pounds of raspberries witt he foodsaver! i love it sooo much! i have two questions though, is it possible to open a food saver bag with out having to cut off the 3 or so inches needed to seal it the first time? becuase i know they are reusable but if you have to cut almost 3 inches off every time thats a little annoying. also if you only want to use a little of whatever is in it and caint reseal the bag because you didnt remove enough to have 3 inces! also have you had any sucess freezing eggplant? i really want to bt dont know how it will turn out after being frozen and how to cut it or if it shoudl be blanched. also when you use the frozen zucchini does it come out all mushy and soft? wow that was long! thanks, and thanks so much for the recomendation!
    katrina

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    1. I buy the food saver rolls and make my own bags that way I freeze smaller amounts that I would use up and not have to worry about resealing the bag (that can be a pain)they sell them at most stores where you buy the bags, I only freeze zucchini shredded for baking so can't help there to much and it does come out wet just strain and bake with it, egg plant, I make eggplant parm then freeze that so don't know to much there either sorry hope something here helped

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  32. Hi Everyone,
    I'm just loving all the great zucchini stories & tips!

    Hi Anonymous,
    Thanks for the hand pollination info. I'll definitely have to try it.

    Hi Katrina,
    How wonderful to hear about your new FoodSaver love affair! So glad you're putting it to so much good use.

    As far as opening, reusing, and resealing the bags, I recommend calling the FoodSaver toll-free number (it should be on your instruction booklet) and asking them your questions. They're very nice and extremely helpful.

    It is possible to freeze eggplant. It does need to be blanched first, and the water needs to have citric acid or lemon juice added to it. I've never frozen eggplant, so I'm not sure how it comes out. You can find detailed freezing instructions here.

    When you blanch and freeze most vegetables, including zucchini, they lose their crunch. Slices of frozen zucchini won't turn to mush, though. I often use the slices in quick skillet sautes, and the texture is fine. I actually prefer my squash on the soft and nearly overcooked side, but if you're an al dente sort of person you'll want to use your frozen squash in soup.

    Have fun with your FoodSaver! :

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  33. i am new to blog, but was moved to comment because until this year i too was the only one in the neighborhood who couldn't grow squash because i refused to use chemicals on the squash bugs...until this spring, in late april, early may, various things conspired agianst me getting into the garden on time...(work, kids, husband, pets, more work) and i not very hopefully, planted out my squash plants 3-4 weeks later than usual....and no bugs!!! they must've came to the garden, not seen any tasty squash plants and scadaddled....thanks for a great blog...i have a lot of reading to catch up on!!!!

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    1. Here in Montana we plant our squash plants about June 1st. The sets usually have a few leaves on them by then - maybe 10 inches tall or so. We had a late freeze on the 9th this year and I replanted about half of them on the 12th. I transplanted the frost damaged ones at the end of my corn (every other row) as an experiment. All are doing fine. The transplanted squash were only slightly behind, but they caught up quickly with Miracle Grow liquid organic plant food every two weeks or so. Epsom salt might have helped too, but I am only using it on my tomatoes and peppers this year. Planting Bea Balm at the corners of the garden seems to do the trick for pollination problems due to a lack of bees. I believe it also attracts those leaf eating wasps though. Also I use shredded yellow squash and onions to make hash browns for dinner. I precook the squash to get the liquid under control and then I add the onions, spices and potatoes. Yummy.

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  34. I just wanted to share what was preventing me from growing good zucchini in the past in my garden. We had a black walnut tree growing right next to the garden and as I found out after struggling with this garden for years, it is poison to many plants. We removed the tree and I got lots of zucchini last summer. It was also killing or stunting my tomatoes.

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  35. This may be too late to help anyone BUT I had a similar problem with veggies last year and the organic farmer I buy from said that I had "blossom drop" and that it was from a calcium deficiency. I have been adding crunched up egg shells and things are looking better out there this year.
    Thank you for the information about freezing in slices, I have frozen grated for bread but assumed it would be gross in slices.
    Finally, for folks with 400+ lbs, if you have a local soup kitchen or food pantry they might be happy to take your extra, and you would not even have to run after ringing!

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  36. Here's a GREAT grated (shredded) zuc recipe..my fav:) Steam grated zucs, you can mix green and yellow for nice color, do a bunch, you're gonna love this! Drain steamed squash. Layer an inch of squash in a baking dish, add salt and fresh ground pepper,top with grated Kasseri cheese, add another layer of squash, S & P, and then cheese, top with bread crumbs, dot with butter. Bake at 350 for about 45 mins.
    This nummy recipe will help you use up your frozen shredded squash, which I'm now going to go do, never thot of it! Thanks for the great tip. PS. People who hate zucchini...love this recipe!

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  37. Hey- I am a gardener in the pacific NW and have recently learned lots and lots about growing summer squash (and used some of your tips to freeze about 10 lbs of it tonight!). The recent post about calcium is probably correct if you find your zukes and squash starting to become little fruits then getting moldy and smushy on the side closest to the blossom. Blossom end rot can be cured by adding lime (or eggshells, oysters, etc) and also by keeping it all evenly watered. Don't let it dry out between waterings. The moist soil is what allows the nutrients to be available to the plant.

    If you just have blossoms that don't ever start to become fruit, you definitely should try to encourage bees or hand-polinate. I planted bee balm in my squash patch. Squash is about the only thing that will shade out stray bee balm plants so they can't take over entirely!

    Love your site. hope this year your squash is doing better!

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  38. Just came across a mention of another thing to do with zuchini: pickle it! Didn't see a recipe for it but among the recipes for bread and butter pickles and pickled carrots and califlower, there was a mention of pickled zuchini. I bet that would be good.
    I submitted my grandmother's recipe for 2-week pickles which she made in a huge jar.

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  39. Thank you for the wonderful ideas, I got a BUNCH of squash in my Farm to Work box and as much as I love grilled and roasted veggies, I needed a way to save them. I love how you linked in the other web sites for other recipies! All the comments are great too for other ideas. Keep your posts coming!

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  40. Last year I sliced and froze all my squash and zucchini without blanching or cooking any of it. I used it all winter long in soups, stews, and casseroles and it tasted wonderful! What is the purpose of blanching?

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  41. Stumbled on your site looking for zucchini freezing information. I left California after living there 35 years to return to Southern Indiana...through a series of misadventures, I find myself living on a 90 acre farm about 20 minutes from Louisville. Barely time to get settled before trying to get a garden planted...so only zucchini, tomatoes and Thai basil this year....anyway still missing the Bay Area's over the top variety of everything.

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  42. maybe this is a dumb question . do i need to peel the zuci before i freeze it. i love this site it is very helpful thanks to you all .sandy webb from millsboro de

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  43. Hi Sandy,
    No question is ever a dumb question! : ) No, you don't have to peel your zucchini or summer squash before freezing it. If you're dealing with really oversized ones, though, the skin may be thick and tough, and you might want to peel it first. Simply a matter of taste - it's definitely not necessary.

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  44. Farmgirl, I have had the same problem as you with zucchini this year, (6 total from 6 plants) but I don't think this is an issue of polination as my summer squash, butternut, pattypan, cucumbers & watermelon right next to it are very prolific. There just haven't been many blossoms on the zucchini plants.

    As for the squash vine borer, this year I used a sesame oil-based organic insecticide on almost all my vegetables and flowers, called "Organicide." Timing is everything, but it is a cinch to use, very economical as it is concentrated, and most importantly I have had no sign of the borers on my squash. Also no Mexican bean beetles and I've successfully rid flowers and basil of white flies. Give it a try next year.

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  45. Thanks for all the good information regading zucchini! I also have had a problem with my zucchini this year but none because of mold, etc. My plants look lovely but evidently the bad bunnies thought so as well! They ate most of my blooms! I have had only three pretty zucchini from two plants and I have at least one more growing out there now. Today, however, I broke down and went to the local farm stand and bought eight more...that should be enough to stock my freezer for the winter. I did shred mine and froze it. I also added it to spaghetti sauce to get my kids to eat more veggies. Everyone loved it!
    My dear husband has now requested zucchini bread!
    I also had a difficult time with tomatoes and green beans! Maybe I'm just not cut out for this gardening thing! I am going to try again next year, though!

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  46. Has anyone used a foodsaver to freeze zucchini bread? Must I freeze the bread first, bare, and then use the foodsaver? That is what I am finding online with inconsistencies.

    Thanks,

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  47. You can wrap in plastic wrap or just seal unwrapped, but don't vacuum all the air out or you will have flat bread!

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  48. Hi ,
    I read your article while looking up about freezing zuchini.


    you mentioned.............
    for each summer squash I do manage to harvest, there are at least two dozen blossoms that simply shrivel up and die. Anybody know what's going on?



    Click here: Why Zucchini Blossoms Fall Off The Plant http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/vegetable/why-zucchini-blossoms-fall-off-the-plant.htm check this website out.. it might help....

    I do know that zucchini squash has a female blossom and a male blossom.. only the female blooms produce fruit and the male ones..... end up withering , getting yellowish, eventually dropping off the plant. I didn't know this either until reading it in a magazine article one time.. fascinating.

    The squash bugs.. I have never had them until this year.. and half ways through the season they zapped 3 of my four plants.. I promptly went to local Lowe's and got Sevin.. and have done 3 sprayings since mid summer.. about once every 10 days or a week.. I replanted zucchini back in early July.. and those plants are growing strong now.. and should be blooming soon... enough so I will get a 2nd crop of zucchini before the frosts come.

    back to reading about your remote farm.. and how to freeze zuchini.. I have shredded it and froze it in zip lock baggies.. but never done the chunks frozen. Looking forward to trying this.. thanks
    Judy

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  49. I just stumbled across your blog, and love it, it is great to find another farm girl. I have a huge garden you could almost call it a farm, & I have been busy putting up veggies & berries in the freezer. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to grow your own food and preserve it for your own family. I love it.

    Glad to know I was doing the right thing when I grated and froze the zucchini tonight.

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  50. I also will be shredding and freezing a GIANT zucchini..thanks for the tips.
    I usually make large batches of zucchini bread...at least 6 or more loaves at a time and then freeze. I've found that just letting it cool completely and then wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap works great. I do have a foodsaver, but hadn't thought to use that...will have to get that out.
    Thanks for the great tips!!

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  51. I always freeze my zucchini bread first and then vacuum pack it via the Food Saver - what a great appliance! The bread comes out just fine when you're ready for it. At least mine has - so far.

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  52. Janet in the cosmos1/19/2010 12:59 PM

    Secret to the best zucchini bread:
    Zucchini bread recipes are everywhere, but they all call for two cups of white sugar. I use one cup white and one cup dark brown sugar. People always say "This is the best z.bread I have ever had!" Nobody knows why though. I wanted to share my secret with you cause it's not a secret! It's the middle of January as I write this, longing for summer and a veggie garden again! Wah! It helps to read recipes with summer garden veggies cause it chases the duldrums away.

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  53. I just picked the third 5 gallon bucket full of zuchinni and yellow squash from just three plants...I cannot wait to try so many of the great suggestions on your site! Thank you!

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  54. I just found your blog while looking for info about freezing zucchinis. Can the frozen z's be used in relish. I make zuch relish but seem to be short of time right now. Loved visiting your farm.
    Karen

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  55. Hi Karen,
    Welcome to the farm! My apologies for the delayed reply.

    I've never made zucchini relish, but I'm guessing you could probably use defrosted zucchini to make it. It'll already be partially cooked from the blanching, so you'll want to adjust your recipe. Also, it may be a little difficult cutting up the zucchini you've frozen into pieces small enough for relish.

    And while freezing zucchini isn't a huge undertaking, it does take some time. Depending on how long it takes you to make the relish, you might want to just go ahead and make it now with fresh zucchini and save yourself the extra work.

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  56. I take my sliced green tomatoes. Lay them on a flat surface and freeze them. Then I place them in ziplock baggies and store them in the freezer. They fry up nice and you can't even tell the difference whether they are fresh or frozen. :)

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  57. did you ever find any thing to help with the squash bugs they are invading..

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  58. 956330a4-8bbf-11e0-ba49-000bcdcb5194,
    I have to confess I've taken a break from planting summer squash, but next year I'm determined to grow some, and before those nasty squash bugs even show up, I'll be liberally dousing the plants and surrounding soil with food grade diatomaceous earth.

    This totally natural powder (it's made from fossilized diatoms and is even safe to eat) has numerous uses around the farm and garden, including as an organic pest control for both hard and soft shelled creatures.

    We buy it in 50-pound bags and feed it to the animals as a natural wormer and health supplement.

    In the garden, I use it to deter everything from sow bugs to blister beetles - and have high hopes that it will help with the squash bugs! :)

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  59. Hello! I have a zucchini bread recipe that calls for 2 cups of shredded zucchini. So, I shredded my extra fresh zucchini in 2 cup portions and froze. I just took some out to make zucchini bread and once I have drained the water, I have about 3/4 cup. Do I use more frozen zucchini to equal 2 cups or do I use just the contents of the bag, knowing that it was 2 cups before I froze it? Hope this makes sense. I really appreciate the help.

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  60. Hi Amy,
    I just posted your question on the Farmgirl Fare Facebook page, and there are already several replies:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Farmgirl-Fare/139570972762244?v=wall

    It sounds like you can't go wrong either way. Hope this helps! :)

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  61. Amy,
    For a direct link to the conversation thread about how to use your defrosted grated zucchini on the Farmgirl Fare Facebook page, click here.

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  62. wow everyone awncered all my questions

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  63. Your zucchini crop sounds unfortunately like mine for the past 3 years that I have tried to grow them. I have tried everything, including moving the mounds around in my garden, but like you, I don't use pesticides, and there haven't been many bees around in previous years. However, I learned to use the squash blossoms in recipes, so it wasn't a total loss. This year I bought plants at the farm store as well as starting from seeds, and amazingly, I am getting a bumper crop. Every day I harvest several from my 3 hills. So persevere!

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  64. I just read recently that summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers have male and female flowers. It is normal for the male flowers to fall off. You can tell a female flower by looking under it....you will see a bulge which will be the vegetable forming. You could pick the male flowers before they fall off, batter them and fry them. They are really tasty. If you aren't getting enough pollination by bees then you can hand pollinate with a soft artist brush. Take the pollen from the male stamens and brush it on the female stamens. Hope this helps. We live in the Missouri Ozarks and so far it looks like a bumper crop of summer and zucchini squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, green beans, shelly beans, hot peppers, and eggplant coming on. We don't use pesticides either so hopefully the organic potions we mix up will work on the bugs this year. We created a wonderful raised garden this year, too, and mulched it with sawdust. Seems to be working great! Holds the moisture...another must for a good squash crop. Happy gardening!

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  65. Heck, I don't even blanch mine. I just slice it semi-thick (or maybe that should be semi-thin!) and wrap it in brown (natural) parchment paper then stuff it inside a ziplock bag, force out the air and chuck it into the freezer. Done deal.

    I have an easy, good, playful recipe which uses both of these wonderful squash and I'll put it below. BTW, diatomaceous earth is great stuff. Been using it myself for a long time. I did, however, manage to kill off two beautiful pineapple sage plants which I'd been babying for a whole dang summer. Now I have to start over with those because I'm not giving up. I'm actually using them in my front yard because the foliage is gorgeous in the autumn.

    Here's the recipe. You can vary it any way you like, doesn't matter to me! The only veggie that doesn't really work in this is tomato.

    CLEAN OUT YOUR GARDEN STIR-FRY

    3 small zucchini
    3 small yellow squash (crook necked)
    1 large onion or a couple of bunches of green onions (tops and all)
    1 large green pepper (yellow, orange or red work fine too, but they are sweeter so I prefer the green in this recipe)
    1 TBSP dried parsley
    2 TBSP (or more to taste) Italian seasoning (we were using Watkins brand for a long time, but they don't make it anymore. Also I wanted something organic, so I went to Mountain Rose Herbs.com and bought their Mediterranean Seasoning and it's nearly identical).

    I use just a titch of freshly ground allspice sometimes and it adds a little extra zest to the dish.

    Use your favorite oil, homemade butter or lard, bacon grease - whatever - to lightly brown whatever selection of veggies you choose to use. In the meantime, boil up some spaghetti until it is cooked through but not pasty. When the noodles are done, add to the browned veggies and stir. Done.

    The oil/grease serves as the "liquid" for this and it doesn't take much, maybe 1/4 cup or so.

    **You can add some hunks of cooked leftover meat if you wish, but we generally use this as a side dish. I have made it with chunks of baked or roasted chicken and it's good.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tips and recipe! :)

      Delete
  66. I am new to growing vegetables, but I must say I am enjoying it very much. I am growing zucchini and squash. I would like to know when to pick. How big should the zucchini be for me to pick? Thank You. I love this blog. It has helped me so much.

    Sandra
    Mllen, GA

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sandra,
      Congratulations on your new garden! I'm so glad I could help. As for picking zucchini, you can actually start picking baby zucchini when they're as small as a pencil. And of course you can also even eat the blossoms.

      When zucchini and other summer squash get really big (which they often have a tendency to do overnight when you're not looking) they usually end up tasting bland and watery. Sometimes the texture gets rubbery, too.

      Somewhere in between is perfect - usually about 6 to 8 inches long.

      Enjoy your bounty! :)

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  67. I am in Connecticut and last year I had No zucchini because of the squash bore. This year I planted one zucchini plant and I have soooo much . I have given it to all three of my sons, their inlaws, my inlaws, every neighbor until they have screemed uncle. So I decided I would make French fried Zucchini sticks which I froze, I have shreded them, chunked them, juliened them and froze those. I made bread that I froze and muffins and even made a great cole slaw with onions and poppyseed dressing. I will use the frozen chuncks this winter to make soups and to put in stews. I also made Ratattoui. Sorry about that spelling. This also freezes fine. Good luck everyone.

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  68. We have had a ton of squash bugs this year and we're losing all our plants. When we found aphids on our tomato plants we renewed our search to find an organic bug spray. We discovered insecticidal soap. There are many different recipes but the one I used was 5 thsp of ivory soap to 1 gallon of water. I was thrilled when I discovered it worked to kill the squash bugs and Japanese beetles too! I ended up reducing the soap to only 3 tbsp and that worked well too! Good luck!

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  69. This may have been mentioned, but there are so many comments I didn't read them all. Last year we used our vacuum sealer to freeze lots and lots of zucchini, shredded and sliced. I would thaw out a bag, and dump it liquid and all into a pan and let it simmer away. These tasted good, but were mushy globs of zucchini. One evening I was trying to fix a quick supper and instead of dumping the bag into the pan, I decided to pop it in the microwave. I was kinda worried about it, and watched the bag as it swelled. I just knew it was gonna pop. A couple of times I opened to door, to let the bag deflate a little, then restarted it. After a few minutes I opened the bag, and they were perfect steamed zucchini slices, not lumps of mush...and of course they were very tasty!!!

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January 2013 update: I know word verification is a big pain, but it's the only way I can stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I get every day. I don't want to require commenters to be registered Blogger or Open ID users because I know many of you aren't. Thanks so much for your understanding!

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