Freezing zucchini is easy. When zucchini season is getting ahead of you it is easy to freeze the overload for up to a year. We show you how in this post.
Zucchini is often thought of as part of the vegetable family, but it is actually a fruit. This prolific and fast growing fruit belongs to the “Cucurbitaceae” plant family. Zucchini is harvested June through late August in most parts of the country. One zucchini plant can produce 6-8 pounds of fruit all by itself. This makes zucchini a great option for planting in your garden.
Freezing zucchini makes a great option for preserving it. Frozen zucchini is a handy baking ingredient to have on hand any time of the year. We have a few tips and tricks in this post for freezing zucchini success.
Can you freeze fresh raw zucchini?
Fresh zucchini can be frozen. However, freezing zucchini straight from the garden with no prep will result in weepy and mushy thawed zucchini. Properly preparing zucchini is the key to a successful harvest preservation. Zucchini should be blanched for a minute or two to avoid enzyme breakdown and to drain out excess liquid. Zucchini is full of liquid which can prevent problems when defrosting.
Can you freeze zucchini without blanching it?
Zucchini can be frozen without blanching, but it is not recommended. Blanching zucchini helps preserve them longer in the freezer. The blanching process is said to stop the enzymes that will breakdown the fruit over time. Fruit that is frozen without blanching breaks down faster and presents as mushy or weepy when thawed. Blanching also helps draw the liquid in the zucchini out. This liquid can be drained when the zucchini is removed from the blanching water.
What can you do with large amounts of zucchini?
Because zucchini plants produce so much fruit per plant, people often end up with an excess of zucchini. Fortunately there are countless ways to use up zucchini in recipes. Here are a few of our other favorites ways to use up a harvest:
- Lemon Zucchini Bread
- Savory Zucchini Pie
- Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Pineapple Zucchini Bread
- Zucchini Fries
- Blueberry Zucchini Bread
- Zucchini Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Frosting
- Overnight Smoky Zucchini Casserole
- Savory Zucchini Muffins
- Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Zucchini Tart
- Zucchini Cake
- Grilled Sausage Tomato Zucchini Kabobs
- Freezing Zucchini Bread
It’s rewarding to pull out a loaf of frozen zucchini bread and get a bite of summer in January. Learn my method for freezing Zucchini bread here:
More Zucchini Recipes:
During the growing season we are always looking for new ways to enjoy zucchini. Here are a few of our favorite zucchini recipes.
Can you Freeze Grated Zucchini for Baking?
Shredded zucchini can be frozen. We prefer using the shredded zucchini method, it makes it much easier to use for baking and storage. Grated zucchini can be frozen 3-4 months. After blanching, the grated zucchini can be drained and compressed into a freezer safe bag. Grated zucchini safes freezer space and makes baking prep simple. Zucchini can also be frozen in slices or whole after blanching.
Is it better to freeze Zucchini raw or cooked?
Freezing zucchini when it is fresh/raw (after blanching) retains more nutrients than freezing cooked zucchini. However, both methods work just fine for freezing and preserving zucchini. This versatile fruit can be frozen either way. It depends on your personal preference
Reasons to Freeze Zucchini:
Frozen and defrosted zucchini is great in casseroles, muffins and breads.
Whole Foods describes all the zucchini Health Benefits here. Zucchini are loaded with vitamins and minerals and lots of goodness.
There are several Zucchini health benfits of eating young zucchini. Your dogs can have zucchini in small quantities and enjoy zucchini benefits too. My dogs love veggies for snacks and in their dog food.
Dogs can eat zucchini when it is young. Old tough Bitter zucchini is not good for dogs or humans.
Over ripe zucchini is very tough with large seeds and a dry interior with a big cavity in it. Don’t eat it. Compost it.
DON’T freeze it. It has no flavor and the texture is very rough. Old dry frozen zucchini will not turn out well in your recipes.
Zucchini, like many other garden products starts out young and tender with a thin skin. It cuts easily, the seeds are small and the meat of it is moist and even when cut.
This is the zucchini you want to eat, bake with, and freeze.
An advantage of freezing the shredded zucchini rather then the recipe is it saves freezer space and gives you more options.
Helpful Tips on freezing all your garden produce are found at the National Center For Food Preservation.
For tips on blanching, the whys and wherefores and a list of times and methods for blanching various vegetables visit their page on blanching here.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE:
Freeze Zucchini that is thin skinned and tender. For larger zucchini (12 inches long) cut in half and desseed.
Use an ice cream scoop to quickly eliminate seeds, if necessary, before shredding the zucchini.
- Grate each zucchini by hand or use a food processor. I use this one for large batches of zucchini.
- Put the shredded zucchini into your blancher in batches of about 4 to 5 cups at a time. Large batches will not blanch evenly, causing your frozen zucchini to age fast and lose nutrients.
- Blanch one to two minutes until the zucchini becomes a vibrant green but NOT cooked.
- Immerse the hot zucchini quickly in an ice bath to stop the blanching.
- Strain the water out of the zucchini before freezing. Don’t squeeze it out, just drain out the extra. You want some moistness in the packages to protect the zucchini while freezing.
- Put the drained zucchini into a quart sized zip lock freezer bag.
Freezing Zucchini in Bags-TIPS:
- Use FREEZER bags: Freezer bags are meant to take the abuse of freezing and will protect all produce best.
- Do not overfill the freezer bag: When freezing, the bag will expand. If it’s too full, the seal will burst or the side will split. This exposes your produce to freezer burn and dirt.
- Properly seal the freezer bags: Push out ALL of the air from the bag. Fold the flap over, as shown, and seal the bag, most of the way. Then press out any remaining small bubbles and complete the seal.
- LABEL THE BAGS: With the name, and DATE.
- FREEZE THE BAGS FLAT: Use a cookie sheet or a piece of heavy cardboard or whatever will fit into your freezer and give the bags a flat level surface until they are hardened.
- Zucchini will last up to a year in your freezer if properly frozen.
Defrosting Frozen Zucchini:
- Put the frozen zucchini block into a large bowl. Now the bowl will catch any liquids from condensation or a damaged bag.
- Drain out any extra liquid from the frozen zucchini before you use it in a recipe.
- If you need it really dry go ahead and squeeze out the extra liquid.
Happy freezing everyone. Enjoy!
Here is your Printable Recipe for Freezing Zucchini:
The process to shred and freeze zucchini in ziplock bags for long term storage. Up to a year.
- 4 Zucchini (or however many you wish to freeze. Choose young tender zucchini for best results.)
- Wash the zucchini and cut the ends off.
- Grate each zucchini and put into your blancher in batches of about 4 cups at a time. Large batches will not blanch evenly, causing your frozen zucchini to age fast and lose nutrients.
- Blanch about 1 to 2 minutes until the zucchini is bright green but not cooked!
- Remove immediately to a cold water bath or ice water bath to stop the blanching process.
- Strain the water out of the zucchini before freezing. Don't squeeze it out, just drain out the extra and press the water out of the zucchini if necessary. You want some moistness in the packages to protect the zucchini while freezing.
- Put the drained zucchini into a quart sized zip lock freezer bag. These bags are designed to hold up well in the freezer. They have a sturdy seal and are thicker than regular storage bags. You may also choose to use your vacuum sealer at this point.
- DO NOT OVERFILL YOUR BAGS! When freezing, the zucchini will expand. If the freezer bag is too full the seal will burst or the side will split. This exposes your produce to dirt and air.
- Properly seal your bags. Push out ALL of the air from the bag. Suck it out with a straw or push the air out by folding the bag over as you seal it.
- LABEL THE BAGS with the name and date.
- Freeze the bags flat.
You CAN freeze shredded zucchini without blanching. The result will still be useable after defrosting. However, blanching will kill for the enzymes in the zucchini and prevent discoloration and help retain the best texture.
To frost your zucchini put a frozen bag in a larger bowl and let it sit on the counter or in the fridge until it defrosts. Drain off the excess water before using.
Amount Per Serving Calories 8Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 1g
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Best 17 can you freeze raw zucchini – ethanadvisors.com
Saturday 2nd of July 2022
[…] Quote from the source: … […]
Tuesday 10th of August 2021
Yours is the most thorough I've seen for blanching zucchini. Great job!
Tuesday 10th of August 2021
Hi Lori, Thanks so much for the great feedback. It's nice to know we covered all the basics. Have a wonderful day!
Saturday 17th of July 2021
do you have to grate it can you cube it
Saturday 17th of July 2021
Hi Jim, I know grating zucchini is tedious and can do some damage to your knuckles if you use your hand held grater. If you have a food processor that is a nifty way of grating a large amount of zucchini in a hurry. You can try to do the cubes. HOWEVER, they have to be small and uniform enough to blanch evenly. Also when defrosted how do you plan to use the zucchini? Cubes work for casseroles but not much else. Grating zucchini gives you a much more versatile product for recipes. I use mine for zucchini breads mostly and grating is essential for baking recipes like muffins and breads. Hope this helps!
Wednesday 17th of July 2019
How do you blanch the zucchini
Wednesday 17th of July 2019
Hi Georgia, Here is the blanching method from the post. It really is that easy. You have to heat up your zucchini to kill the enzymes as I mention in the post. It's done just like this: Put the shredded zucchini into your large pot of boiling water or steamer (that's what I used) in small batches for three minutes, if water blanching. Steam blanching requires about five minutes per batch. Drain and strain the zucchini depending on your blanching method Put it into ziplock freezer bags (or you could vacuum pack it if you have one. I don't). Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.
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[…] kicking into high gear. Loading that lovely, cold monster is kitchen business. LOTS of it! Freezing zucchini, apples, salsa, corn, dried tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries and tons of dried peppers to name […]