Do you have an abundance of zucchini from your garden, an ambitious neighbor, or a farm CSA program like we have? Once you are tiring of cooking and eating all that green squash, what are you to do with the rest?
Most of us enjoy a good loaf of zucchini bread or another baked good made with zucchini.
And if you really have a lot of zucchini (or access to it), I highly recommend freezing some for later use. How nice would it be to be able to bake up something fresh with zucchini any time of the year?
Most recipes or kitchen tips involving shredded zucchini instruct you to squeeze out the excess moisture, usually with a paper towel, a clean tea-towel, or even cheese-cloth. While this process is usually necessary, I find it to be a bit tedious and a little messy. It becomes even more of a chore when you have a lot of zucchini to process.
Well, you’ll be happy to know that this summer, I think I found a better way!
I love it when I can learn how to do something better. Working “smarter, but not harder” is a goal for most of us as busy homemakers (and bakers). So why do a step to prepare food when you can simply rely on nature to do it for you?
I entitled my blog “Simply Flourishing Home” because one of my passions is to share tips or ideas that I’ve learned with other busy homemakers, in order to make life just a little simpler.
So here’s what I’ve been trying this summer. I think you’ll agree that this method really does simplify the process of draining the excess liquid from grated zucchini.
First, wash and grate your zucchini into a big bowl or other suitable container.
If you have a food processor to make this step easier
I’m jealous please enjoy using that, but right now I’m without one, so my zucchini are currently being grated by hand. That means I either beg or hire my sons to help me, or I just do it myself and call it an arm workout.
Using a fresh container (or remove the shredded zucchini from your original dish and wipe), place a couple layers of paper towel into the bottom of the dish. Next layer an inch or so of grated zucchini over the paper towel. Now continue in this fashion, repeating with layers of paper towel and zucchini until you run out of zucchini (or room in your dish). Make sure to end by topping off the chosen container with another paper tower before sealing on the lid.
Place your filled dish into the refrigerator and wait several hours or overnight.
Almost miraculously (but not really, because it’s just science), the paper towels will absorb much of the excess zucchini liquid. Remove and discard the saturated paper towel and your shredded squash is now ready to use or freeze.
If you are freezing for later use, simply remove whatever portion you’d like to freeze, and place it in a plastic freezer bag or other freezer container. I usually measure mine out with my adjustable measuring cup (similar to this one), and freeze in increments of around 2 cups in a one-quart freezer bag. If I have a particular recipe in mind, I freeze the exact amount needed for the recipe (or often for a double batch), in each bag.
One important note from my experience so far is to not allow the zucchini to stay for too long in your fridge, without either using or freezing it. I admit I may have gotten busy and left some for several days, and then regretfully had to chuck it (into the trash). Another time I left it a couple of days thinking it would be too long, but found it to be just fine. It’s just not worth the risk though, and of course it’s always best to work with fresh ingredients. So my personal recommendations for optimal results (based on my unscientific observations and slightly wild guesses), is to use or freeze it by the next day.
Also, you can experiment with the size and shape of container and how much paper towel to layer to see what works best for you. In one case, I actually found the paper towel had absorbed too much liquid. The zucchini shreds were actually a little on the dry side. Having a refrigerator full of the required vegetable, I simply grated in a little fresh zucchini and mixed it all together. Problem solved. So too much paper towel is also not advisable.
I hope this method of draining the excess liquid from your shredded zucchini works as well for you as it does for me. I’m quite happy to do a little less work with the same results. And I’m looking forward to all the future baked goods I can produce with my prepared and frozen zucchini.
Now if I could just find a natural way to get the zucchini to grate itself.
Have you tried baking with zucchini? Do you freeze some for later use? What’s your favorite recipe featuring grated zucchini? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!