Who doesn’t love cooking zucchini? This vegetable is only harvested in summer, but housekeepers who know how to store squash properly can treat their families to vitamin-rich meals throughout the year. Since this is a rather low-maintenance veggie, it is also not very difficult to store. If you want to preserve zucchini for winter months, follow these simple rules, and you can enjoy fresh squash until spring.
Selecting the right ones for long-term storage
The first thing that you need to do is pick the right squashes. You don’t need overripe ones – they are not good for preserving. Look for ripe, medium-sized fruit. To determine if the zucchini is ripe, try poking it with your fingernail – if you can’t penetrate the skin, it is just what you need. You can use fruit like these for storage.
The skin of the squash should be smooth, without any bruising or marring. If you see even a small blemish, do not use the fruit. Otherwise, it will not stay fresh for long, as the blemish will cause rotting, which can affect other vegetables you are storing. It is also important to select zucchinis with their stems still attached.
Storing in the fridge
This method will only work if you want to preserve just a few zucchinis. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 6 months if you follow these tips:
- Do not wash fresh zucchinis, just pat them with a dry towel;
- Place them in a plastic bag and seal it;
- Poke some holes in the bag for air circulation;
- Put the bagged squash in a crisper drawer in the refrigerator.
Don’t forget to check the veggies, because they can rot even in cold temperatures.
Storing in the freezer
What if your refrigerator is small and there is no spare room in the crisper drawer? How do you store squash in a case like this? It is great if you have a deep freezer, but a standard freezing compartment in the refrigerator will do as well. This method is very convenient because it uses zucchinis that are prepared for further use and then put in the freezer.
For example, if you often cook vegetable ragout, dice the zucchini to store them for winter use. If you want to freeze them for frying later – slice them into 8-10-mm rounds. Spread cut veggies on a tray and place it in the freezer for about two hours. Then transfer frozen veggies into plastic bags and put them back into the freezer.
You can store squash inside your home. First, pat the zucchini with a dry towel. Try to remove all the dirt from the skin without damaging it. Then put clean fruit in a dry and dark place, for example, under the bed.
A pantry will do, too: if you have spare shelves, you can place zucchinis there. Keep in mind that in these conditions they will last up to 3 months, so try to use them as soon as possible.
Storing in the basement
If you live in a house, then the question of how to store zucchinis is unlikely to arise, because you most likely have a cellar, which is the best place to store any vegetables. However many zucchinis there are – there will be enough space. For the best result, store the veggies using these tips:
- Hang the squash
Put every zucchini into a separate net. Hang the nets from a bar, closer to the ceiling, make sure that the squash does not touch each other. Air the cellar regularly to prevent zucchinis from rotting.
- Put zucchinis in a cardboard box
Take a cardboard box and put one layer of zucchinis in it. Separate the fruit from each other using cardboard dividers. Do not close the box, keep the veggies in an open box.
- Place the vegetables on a shelf lined with wheat straw
Line a shelf with dry straw and place the veggies there. Try to store them separately from each other
Whatever method you choose, check the cellar from time to time to see if there is any rot on the vegetables. If you find a bad zucchini, do not hesitate to throw it away; otherwise, the other ones will soon start rotting, too.
Wherever you store zucchinis at home, at the end of the winter, or, if you are lucky, in early spring, zucchinis will start rotting (except the frozen ones), so try to use them before that. If there are some left, peel them, grate or dice, and put in the freezer. This is the only way to preserve the remaining veggies, otherwise, they will spoil or lose their nutrition and flavor.