If you have extra zucchini from the garden or from friendly neighbors, do NOT waste a single bit of it. No matter how much you have, you can follow these 15 things to do with extra zucchini and enjoy that zuke all year long!
The following suggestions come from our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead, which has a whole chapter devoted to the homestead kitchen and so much information on zero-waste cooking tips – like what to do with extra zucchini! Please visit the link or the add below to get your copy and immediately start implementing what you learn there.
Zucchini (or zuke) is often the brunt of a gardener’s well-meaning jokes. Have you ever heard that you should make sure to roll up your car windows at church during the summer, lest someone secretly off-load their extra zucchini on you? Well, you should because they will.
If you’re just beginning a garden, zucchini grows well in most areas and I suggest you plant one or two plants. No more than that, though, because you will certainly end up with more zucchini than you can eat or give away during the summer months.
Visit this article from Schneider Peeps to learn how to grow zucchini. If you need further help on growing zucchini, or really growing anything, I recommend the Gardening Journal from Schneider Peeps. This is the tool I use every year to plan my gardens and I think it will help you, too.
Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do with zuke to use it up or preserve it.
15 Things to Do With Extra Zucchini
Let’s start with preserving the harvest. Anytime we have extra produce from the garden or the farmer’s market we can find ways to preserve it for future use. This is especially useful when winter comes and fresh produce from the garden is in limited supply.
Preserve Extra Zucchini
Zucchini freezes very well and can be used in sweet breads and soups for a boost of nutrition.
Click here to learn how to freeze extra zucchini from Sharon over at Simply Canning.
What’s the Best Way to Dehydrate Zucchini?
My favorite way to dehydrate zucchini is to shred it first. Here’s how:
If you don't have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate zucchini in the oven following this same method, but set the temperature to as low as your oven will go. For most ovens in the US, that's 175F/ C. Check frequently and stir to prevent burning the zucchini. You may also dry shredded zucchini on a piece of screen in hot, arid climates. Cover with a piece of linen or cheese cloth to prevent dust and bugs from lighting on your zuke. Provide excellent air circulation and fresh sunlight, if possible. Ruffle shreds every day to ensure even drying. Plan for 2-4 days of drying. To learn about dehydrating in your solar oven, see below in the article.
If you don't have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate zucchini in the oven following this same method, but set the temperature to as low as your oven will go. For most ovens in the US, that's 175F/ C. Check frequently and stir to prevent burning the zucchini.
You may also dry shredded zucchini on a piece of screen in hot, arid climates. Cover with a piece of linen or cheese cloth to prevent dust and bugs from lighting on your zuke. Provide excellent air circulation and fresh sunlight, if possible. Ruffle shreds every day to ensure even drying. Plan for 2-4 days of drying.
To learn about dehydrating in your solar oven, see below in the article.
If you have a solar oven, you may use it to dehydrate pretty much anything. To learn how to do that, please visit the article below which shows how to dehydrate apple slices. Simple use zucchini slices or shreds in place of apples.
—>>>How to Dehydrate Apples in the Solar Oven<<<—
What Can You Do With Dried Zucchini Shreds?
Dried zucchini shreds can be used in any sweet bread recipe calling for fresh, shredded zucchini.
To Rehydrate Dried Zucchini Shreds:
- Measure 1 cup of dried zucchini shreds into a heat resistant bowl.
- Pour 1 1/2 cups of very hot water (185F-200F/85C-93C) over the shreds and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes, until soft.
- Pour off water and save for soup broth.
- Use rehydrated zucchini shreds as you would fresh in any recipe.
You can also add dehydrated zucchini shreds to already hot soups and allow them to rehydrate in the broth.
I use dehydrated zucchini shreds in my favorite Paleo hash brown recipe – so delicious!
<<<—To get the recipe for the tastiest Paleo Hash Browns, click here—>>>
Canning Extra Zucchini
There are a few methods you can use when canning zucchini. Don’t plan to preserve zucchini whole, but you can make relish out of it and pickle spears.
My favorite relish recipe for zucchini is also my favorite relish recipe for eggplant – I put both together with some tomatoes and onions to make gvetch. Gvetch is a Russian relish that is absolutely perfect for canning.
—>>>To get the recipe for gvetch, click here<<<—
Included in a list of articles below are some more canning recipes for zucchini including pickles and marmalade!
13 More Things To Do With Extra Zucchini
- Toss thinly sliced zuke in some avocado oil and grated garlic to dehydrate or bake for an awesome homemade chip.
- Try stuffed zucchini for dinner followed by zucchini sweet bread for dessert.
- Zucchini can also be baked into any muffin, pancake, waffle or bread.
- If you’re staying away from grain, you can make “noodles” from zucchini with a spiralizer tool, a mandolin slicer or a simple knife.
- If you are using a spiralizer, be sure to save the oddly shaped bits that are left over from your zoodle making to add, thinly sliced, to your next morning frittata. Or stew. Or spaghetti sauce.
- Roll zucchini slices in breading and bake up like a fish stick or slice them into omelets and quiche. Add bacon.
- How about frying or grilling thick slices up like a burger and eating them for lunch? Don’t forget to add your favorite spices!
- If you shave zucchini down thinly, you can easily eat it raw in any salad in place of or along with cucumbers.
- It also makes a wonderful pureed soup and a topping for vegetarian pizza.
- How about trying your hand at zucchini fritters or zuke-based baba ghannouj?
- Add shredded zuke to any meatloaf or meatball recipe, as well as a stir fry, lasagna, casseroles or, of course, ratatouille.
- Your chickens and goats will enjoy the leftover plants once the zucchini stop producing in the cold weather of fall.
- Before frost comes to threaten late blooms, be sure to harvest them and fry them up after coating them in a simple batter—never had fried squash blossoms? Ooooh, you simply must try them!
For recipes and instructional articles, please see the list at the end of the article below.
Isn’t This More Trouble Than Tossing It Out?
Well, it’s a bit more work but I wouldn’t call it trouble, despite our hectic schedules.
Honestly, I don’t think most of us are evil, hate the planet, love to waste or are lazy or stupid. I think we’re just a product of our modern culture which is a place wherein we can buy what we need in a store and can put what we don’t think we need in a garbage can.
And we’re busy. I think a case could be made for the argument that we’re too busy, but I digress.
We need to learn a better way of doing things not because we’re wicked, but because we don’t know what we don’t know. I was and still am guilty of not using up every resource I’ve been blessed with in the kitchen and so I’m ready to explore this topic with you and figure out what we all might do better to “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without,” as our pioneer ancestors often quipped.
To learn more about zero waste cooking ideas, please visit our article below.
—>>>5 Ways to Avoid Food Waste<<<—
Resources for Using and Preserving Extra Zucchini
Below is a list of article that we have used and found helpful when dealing with lots of extra zucchini. We hope they’re helpful for you, too!
If you have a favorite way to use up zucchini, please leave a comment below – I would LOVE to try it myself!