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Freezing garden picked zucchini

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With zucchini season around the corner, here are two good ways to enjoy the bounty from your garden.

Pick zucchini when it is young before it has developed large seeds in the center. After picking, wash in cold water and cut into the desired form. Chunks or grated. The grated is used for zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini cake. The cubes are good for adding to casseroles or stews.

Pick zucchini and cut off the ends. Use either a cheese grater and shred it, or do it the easy way and use a food processor. Cut into chunks the size that will fit your food processor. Using the pulse button if you have one, coarsely chop.

Spoon 2 cup measurements into zip lock freezer bags.

Zucchini Chunks:

1. Cut the zucchini into ½-inch slices or chunks and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes.

2. Cool and drain until completely dry. If using grated zucchini, quickly dip it in boiling water, then cool and drain.

3. To freeze, pack measured amounts of prepared zucchini into plastic containers or freezer bags. If using a container, leave about ½ inch of space at the top. If using freezer bags, squeeze out the excess air before sealing.

4. Label, noting the date and how many cups of zucchini are in each container/bag.

Zucchini Pucks:

1. Shred zucchini and drain, squeezing out excess moisture. Toss the zucchini that will be used for baked goods with a bit of sugar to help draw out excess moisture.

2. Measure out shredded zucchini in 1-cup portions (or whatever measure is most appropriate to the recipes you follow).

3. Freeze the pre-measured portions into “pucks” on a sheet pan.

4. When the pucks are frozen solid, toss them into a zip-top freezer bag or other freezer safe container.

5. When you want to make some holiday zucchini bread, just pull out as many pucks as you need for your recipe and let thaw while you preheat the oven and assemble the rest of your ingredients.

6. Alternately heat skillet with a little olive oil and pan fry pucks for a great side dish to a Sunday roasted chicken dinner.

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