If you love to garden then chances are you have zucchini coming out your ears round about now!

Here in the mountains, we are gearing up for a big freeze so everything is getting harvested. I have green tomatoes galore that I will have to box up and store in the basement until they ripen. I also need to hurry and bottle the rest of my beans, dig up the potatoes, and store the butternut squash, among a ton of other tasks.

My counter is completely hidden under a giant mound of zucchini that is getting in the way, so I’m going to tackle that later today.

One of my favorite ways to use excess zucchini is in baked goods. Don’t get me wrong, I love roasted or grilled zucchini as a side dish in the summer but when your kids forget their harvesting duties and you end up with some torpedo sized zucchini why not bake with it instead of letting your hubby use it for target practice? Of course, that’s always fun, too.

How to Freeze Zucchini {Gypsy Magpie}

Since fresh zucchini only lasts so long, I freeze my extra so I can use it in the winter.

It’s so easy and useful. Here’s how…

Step One: Shred

Wash your zucchini and slice off the ends then get to work shredding. I like to use my food processor with a fine grating disk.

Just FYI, you’re probably going to make a big green mess so be prepared and just go with it.

How to Freeze Zucchini {Gypsy Magpie}

Step 2: Strain

Zucchini is surprisingly juicy, which if not strained will leave you with a very mushy end result so the next thing you want to do is strain the shredded zucchini in a colander set over a bowl for a few minutes.

You’ll be so glad you did.

How to Freeze Zucchini {Gypsy Magpie}

Step 3: Label

While your straining the shredded zucchini, pull out some quart sized zip-top freezer bags and label them with permanent marker.

I like to use the quart sized because I store 2 cups of zucchini, which is the amount most bread recipes call for. It makes it quick and easy to pull out only as much as I need.

How to Freeze Zucchini {Gypsy Magpie}

Step 4: Roll Top and Fill Bags

I think I’ve shared this with you before, but one of the easiest ways to fill a zip-top bag is by rolling the top down. Not only does it help the baggie stand up, but it also keeps the zipper clean and free from food so it seals correctly.

How to Freeze Zucchini {Gypsy Magpie}

If you are struggling to fill your bags, another quick tip is to stand the bag up in a mixing bowl or large yogurt container.

This frees up your hands to fill the bag.

How to Freeze Zucchini {Gypsy Magpie}

Step 5: Press out the air, flatten, and freeze

After you get them filled, press out the air, then flatten like a pancake, and seal. I like to flatten my bags so they lay nicely in the freezer and don’t take up a ton of space. They also will thaw quicker when you are ready to use the zucchini this winter.

I stack my baggie pancakes up in the freezer and then freeze until solid. After they are good and frozen, I stand them up and sort of file them into a little box in my deep freeze.

Step 6: Make some deliciousness!

When you are hankering for some baked goods, pull out a zucchini pancake or two and let them thaw. After it’s thawed out, I like to strain the shredded zucchini one last time just for good measure. Then it’s ready to use in whatever recipe you’d like!

It works great in breads, muffins, soups, etc.

Hey, speaking of zucchini recipes, I found a really good one last month!

If you love lemon, like me, then you’ve got to try Eat Cake for Dinner’s  Lemon Zucchini Bread with Lemon Glaze… it is seriously divine!

Honestly, I didn’t even get around to making the glaze because the bread itself was so good. I’m sure that the glaze would take it clear over the top, so next time I’ll make that first before everyone gobbles it up!

How to Freeze Zucchini {Gypsy Magpie}

I’m serious you guys, you have to try it because it is soooooooo good!

How to Freeze Zucchini {Gypsy Magpie}

Well, there you have it!

It’s that easy to save some of that prolific garden goodness for the bleak winter months. You’ve totally got this!

 

**While you’re here, what’s your favorite zucchini recipe?**

When I get frustrated, the best way for me to find peace in my head is when I put myself to work. Gardening has become one of my favorite things to do because I don’t have to think. It’s one of those times when I can let go of my mind and just use my senses. Touching the dirt, listening to nothing but the earth around me, it is tranquil and for a split second my freight-train of a brain is still. Living in the high mountains of Utah doesn’t allow for much gardening during the winter months. But, this week I craved the peace that comes with getting my hands dirty. As I finished the last of the dinner dishes, I absentmindedly gazed out my window and then my eyes fell on the sad little cups of herbs sitting on my windowsill. There I stood with a wet mason jar in my hand and I realized that I had never given these little seeds a proper home! Yay for finding a little bit of summer tranquility in the bleakness of January!

The next day I rounded up 4 wide mouthed mason jars, a can of Krylon Dual, potting soil, some seeds and went to work.

I started by spray painting my mason jars. I used Krylon Dual Paint + Primer in White Gloss. I tried to get uber crafty and use my glue gun to write the name of the herb on the jar, but it just wasn’t working out cleanly {straight fail} so I quit after Basil. I probably should have used good old Elmer’s but that takes a while to dry and I didn’t want to wait. So, Basil is the ugly duckling of the group, but I use her the most. It all evens out.

Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}

After the jars dried, I got to the fun stuff…planting.

People stress WAY to much about plants. They are scared of hurting them so they just don’t grow anything. Sad. Most plants, especially windowsill herbs, only want some sun and a drink every so often. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}

A while ago, I started these little guys and stuck them on my kitchen windowsill so I could have herbs any time of year. Basil is probably the easiest to grow. If you are nervous using seeds, go get yourself a little pot of herbs from the local nursery. You’ll pay a lot more compared to that cheap packet of seeds, but the patience part is taken care of for you.

Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}

Put about an inch {ish} of pebbles in the bottom of your jars for drainage then put in some potting soil. I like the potting soil that has Miracle Grow in it because I forget to fertilize.

Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}

Just FYI: Basil is one of those that you want to replant every few months because after a while it starts to get woody, as you can see from my plant above. I sprinkled in some seeds around the bottom of the plant and topped it off with some fresh potting soil. I should have little sprouts in a couple weeks.

Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}

I like to start my seeds in cheap plastic cups because it’s free. I usually have a few laying around and you really don’t need a fancy seed starting kit. Any cup with dirt will do. After it sprouts and becomes a plant, you’ll tear the side of the cup and pop out your plant. Easy, messy, and fun.

Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}

See the Rosemary on the left? That is how you want your plant to look when you are done. See that plant on the right? Yeah, the dirt is way high and is going to be a pain in the fanny to water until the dirt tamps down a little. Do yourself a favor and leave a nice lip of pot around the top to keep the water in!

Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}

Kind of cute for nearly free, right? I didn’t buy anything for this project, just used old jars, leftover paint, and soil and seeds I’ve had sitting in my garage. Remember, Basil is the ugly duckling right now, but give her a few weeks and the shiny new leaves will take the old ones place. She’ll be gorgeous, just wait.

Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}

My 7 year old likes Miss Thyme because she thinks she is all frilly and lacy. It’s kind of neat to have an little impromptu botany lesson right in your kitchen. Show them what that herb looked like before they dried it all up and shoved it in a McCormick bottle!

Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}

This one is Rosemary. She smells so good.

If you are wondering how to start your own seeds…

Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}
Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}
Growing Herbs on the Windowsill {Gypsy Magpie}

…stick some dirt in a cup, sprinkle on some seeds, top with a little more potting soil, place in a sunny spot, and keep moist until your little seedlings pop up. It’s that easy. If you are scared, read the back of your seed packet. Oh, and don’t forget to label your cups! But, most importantly, have patience. Some of those tiny seeds take a lot longer to germinate than the others. They are definitely worth the wait. Just think of yourself back in middle school.

So, get to it!

Get your hands dirty and find a little peace while you are at it.