How to Freeze Zucchini

August 20, 2018
Enjoy summer's zucchini bounty all year long!  Just follow these simple steps on how to freeze zucchini, and you'll be enjoying it long after summer has come and gone. 
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How to Freeze Zucchini Image



It's that time of year when our summer gardens seem to be bursting with zucchini.  Zucchini plants sure are super generous, aren't they?

Two of my favorite ways to enjoy summer's zucchini bounty are my Mom's classic Stewed Zucchini & Summer Squash and fresh & lemony Marinated Summer Vegetable Salad.  But even with these two tasty side dishes, I still seem to run out of ideas for ways to prepare it.  Or, I just get a little tired of eating it.

Unsure what to do with all that summer zucchini? Don't let it go to waste - freeze it instead!

So are you like me and unsure what to do with all that summer zucchini?  

Don't let it go to waste - freeze it instead!  

Just follow these seven simple steps to freeze the abundance of summer's zucchini, and you'll be enjoying it all year long. 

How to Cut Zucchini for Freezing Image

1.  Prepare & Cut Zucchini

First, prepare and cut the zucchini.  Wash the zucchini, then cut off and discard the ends.  Cut zucchini into 1/2-inch thick rounds, chunks, or shred it with a box grater or food processor.

When choosing how to cut the zucchini, consider how you will use it throughout the year.  

Planning to serve it as a side dish?  Rounds or chunks will do.  Planning to make zucchini cake or bread?  Shredding it is probably the best choice.

You may even want to do a little of each ~ that way, you have a little in the freezer for whatever you may choose to do with it.

Blanching Zucchini in Boiling Water Image

2.  Blanch in Boiling Water

Giving zucchini a quick bath in boiling water inactivates its enzymes that cause it to discolor and become mushy over time.  

To blanch it, fill a large pot about 2/3 full with water and heat the water to a full boil.  

Add your prepared zucchini and cook it until it's bright green and softened but still a bit crunchy (think al dente).  This will take about 1 to 3 minutes. 


Do not add salt to the blanching water.  Salting the zucchini before freezing it will make it become too mushy. 

Depending on the size of your pot and how much zucchini you're preparing for freezing, you may need to blanch in several batches.

For shredded zucchini, steam it in a steamer basket for about 2 minutes instead of boiling.

When doing this step, only cut enough zucchini for one blanching at a time.  Zucchini begins to discolor if left to sit after it's cut.  

Also, do not add salt to the blanching water.  Salting the zucchini before freezing it will make it become too mushy.

How to Freeze Zucchini Using an Ice Bath Image

3.  Cool In an Ice Water Bath

Before beginning blanching, fill a large bowl (or a clean sink) with ice water.  

Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to scoop the blanched zucchini from the blanching water and immediately place in the ice water bath to stop the zucchini's cooking.

Zucchini in an Ice Bath Image

Let it hang out and cool in the ice water for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Draining Zucchini for Freezing Image

4.  Drain Well

With a slotted spoon or spider strainer, scoop the zucchini from the ice water bath into a large colander and allow it to drain well.  

Once it's well-drained, pat the zucchini with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.

How to Pre-Freeze Zucchini So It Doesn't Stick Together Image

5.  Pre-Freeze

While optional for zucchini rounds and chunks, pre-freezing prevents the zucchini pieces from sticking together once packaged for the freezer.  Pre-freezing is not necessary at all for shredded zucchini.

To pre-freeze, spread the zucchini pieces in a single layer, without touching, on a baking sheet.  Place in the freezer until zucchini is frozen, about 1 to 2 hours.

Freezing Zucchini Image

6.  Package

Place the pre-frozen zucchini pieces in zip-top bags or freezer-safe plastic containers, filling completely full.  

When sealing, push out as much air as possible.  Then label and date each package.

Zucchini Packaged for Freezing Image

7.  Freeze

Store the zucchini packages in the freezer for up to about one year.  Thaw it in the refrigerator when you're ready to enjoy it.

When you're prepping your packages, especially with shredded zucchini, freeze the zucchini in pre-measured amounts called for in your recipes.  Then when you want to prepare the dish or bake up a loaf of zucchini bread, the zucchini's all ready to go!

And that's all there is to freezing zucchini.  With these seven simple steps, you'll be enjoying the abundance of summer's zucchini all year long.


Zucchini Chunks Packaged for Freezing Image
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How to Freeze Zucchini
(Print recipe)
Ingredients
  • fresh zucchini
  • 1 large pot boiling water
  • 1 large bowl* ice water
  • zip-top bags (quart or gallon) or freezer-safe plastic containers
Directions
  1. Prepare & Cut Zucchini:  Wash zucchini, then cut off and throw away the ends. Cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds, chunks, or shred with a box grater or food processor.
  2. Blanch in Boiling Water:  Fill a large pot about 2/3 full with water.  Heat water to a full boil. Add prepared zucchini.  Cook until bright green and softened but still a bit crunchy (think al dente), about 1 to 3 minutes. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to blanch in several batches.  Do not add salt to the blanching water, as salting prior to freezing causes mushiness. NOTE ~ For shredded zucchini, steam it in a steamer basket for about 2 minutes instead of boiling.
  3. Cool In an Ice Water Bath:  Before beginning blanching, fill a large bowl (or a clean sink) with ice water. Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to scoop zucchini from the blanching water and immediately place in the prepared ice water bath to stop the zucchini's cooking. Let cool in ice water for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Drain Well:  With a slotted spoon or spider strainer, scoop zucchini into a colander and allow to drain well. Once drained, pat zucchini with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
  5. Pre-Freeze:  Spread zucchini pieces in a single layer, without touching, on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer until frozen, 1 to 2 hours. NOTE ~ Pre-freezing is not necessary for shredded zucchini.
  6. Package:  Place zucchini pieces in zip-top bags or freezer-safe plastic containers, filling completely full. When sealing, push out as much air as possible. Label and date each package.
  7. Freeze:  Store in the freezer for up to about one year. Thaw when ready to use.
* Or, fill a clean sink with ice water.

This method also works great with summer squash.



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This post is linked with Weekend Potluck.

3 comments

  1. I never realized zucchini can be frozen. This is so good to know. Pinned.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had no idea that you could freeze zucchini.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations!
    Your post is featured on our Top Ten of Full Plate Thursday this week. Thanks so much for sharing this awesome post with us!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete

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