Preserving Courgette Gluts For Winter

Carl Legge
Friday, 15th August 2014

Run out of ideas to use up your courgette glut? Carl Legge explains the best and easiest way to preserve courgettes for the winter while maintaining taste.

You know that feeling when you pick more courgettes towards the back end of the summer. More! You've eaten them raw, stuffed, sautéed, griddled, baked, on pizza, with pasta, in salads and soups and you just can't face anymore.

Now you want to save them for later in the year and you don't want to take an age to process them. Dehydrating them works well for using in stews and soups.

They're also great in chutneys and pickles. Pickling takes a while to prep and there's just so much of those you can eat later and simple freezing is not very satisfactory - you just end up with soggy mush that doesn't really taste of anything.

Now, I think I've found the answer. A quick pre-freeze sauté reduces the water content, adds flavour and gives you a head start on cooking when you use the courgettes the next time.

You can use the sauté/frozen courgettes as a sauce for pasta, just simmer for a while to thicken and mix through. Or you can soften some finely chopped onion first (possibly some anchovy too) and then add your courgettes. You can also add them to stews and casseroles or use as a really intense flavour base for soups.

Simply top and tail the courgettes and chop them roughly into approximately 2-3cm chunks. A mix of colours and varieties will paint pictures on your plate and palate. Quickly crush some garlic cloves in their skins. Pop off the skin, squash the cloves flat and roughly chop.

Coat the bottom of a large saucepan with a good measure of extra virgin olive oil and heat to medium-hot. Add the courgettes and garlic to the pan and stir so they are coated in the oil. Sprinkle in a little salt and some pepper. You can add some roughly chopped basil or parsley leaves (and finely chopped stalks) if you fancy.

Pop the lid on the pan and heat for about 5 minutes or so until the juices in the courgettes start to run.

Take off the lid and continue to heat and stir occasionally until the courgettes are just tender and some of the liquid has boiled away, about 10-20 minutes according to the quantity of courgettes you're dealing with.

Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Portion up and freeze in bags or other containers. Make sure you label them properly. Job done and a taste of summer saved for the dark winter days.

Further resources

Carl Legge lives on the Llyn Peninsula in Wales on a permaculture smallholding and writes a regular blog full of delicious recipes and more. His new book, The Permaculture Kitchen: Love Food, Love People, Love the Planet a book of seasonal, local, home-grown delicious recipes is out for just £11.20, published by Permanent Publications, the book publishing arm of Permaculture magazine. Order now from our Green Shopping site.

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