Freezing zucchini is easy. Learn this helpful practice when this prolific squash explodes into your kitchen in vast numbers. I encourage you to freeze extra produce to keep ahead of your garden productivity.
I was entirely surprised to find zucchini on my ‘must grow’ list when we started up our garden again.
We just grow two hills of zucchini now…and it’s still too much! So let’s get freezing zucchini.
- BEGIN WITH GOOD ZUCCHINI:
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.
The problem with zucchini and many other garden products is we let it get ahead of us.
Zucchini will ripen very rapidly and those sneaky squash hide under the large leaves. So keep hunting!
When we find large numbers of this squash after having been away for just a few days, it’s easy to panic and become “Aunt Minnies”. Don’t panic. freeze!
Over ripe zucchini is very tough with large seeds and a dry interior with a big cavity in it. Don’t eat it.
DON’T freeze it. It has no flavor and the texture is very rough. Plus dry zucchini will not turn out well in your recipes. They will be dry too.
Tell Aunt Minnie “No thank you” and don’t be an Aunt Minnie. If that’s what you have to peddle: Compost it, or feed it to your chickens !
Keep Freezing Zucchini easy. Use the correct tools:
The Zucchini Freezing Process is Very, very easy…
- Wash the zucchini and cut the ends off.
- Slice it into large chunks and then grate it in your (I hope you have one of these) food processor. You can grate it by hand but up the time exponentially.
- Blanching is necessary to kill the enzymes that cause zucchini to degrade during freezing.
- 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).
For tips on freezing just about anything visit 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:
- Grate each 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 about 4 to 5 minutes until the zucchini becomes a vibrant green but NOT cooked.
- 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. These bags are designed to hold up well in the freezer. They have a sturdy seal and are thicker than regular storage bags.Final Tips and things to know about freezing zucchini…
- DO NOT OVERFILL YOUR BAGS! When freezing, the produce will expand. If it’s too full, the seal will burst or the side will split. This exposes your produce, it’s going to look fine, may even be fine for a short-term, but will freezer burn quickly, and can get dirty. Not what you want when it’s defrosting and that bacteria warms up. Very suspect!
- Properly seal your bags. Push out ALL of the air from the bag. It’s easy; just 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! Don’t forget! This winter you will want to remember what’s in those frozen zombie looking things laying jumbled about in the bottom of your freezer. Ask me how I know. Sometimes, last years gets lost. Lots of stuff looks the same when frozen. Labels are important
- FREEZE THE BAGS FLAT! This is the most efficient use of your freezer space and it will prevent the bags forming sharp edges that can catch and break apart in the freezer, exposing your food.You can more easily read flat labels and sort flat bags, once they are frozen. Trust me on this. Flat is the way to go.
- If you don’t have a flat shelf handy 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.
- Try to use your frozen zucchini before 6 months of freezer time to avoid freezer burn. Zucchini will last up to a year frozen if properly frozen.
- put the 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.
Quick work. I had these bags done in about a half hour. Each bag will give me four cups of ready to bake zucchini. Looking forward to zucchini bread this winter!An advantage of freezing the zucchini and not the bread is it saves freezer space and gives you more options. Now I can choose another recipe or use for this lovely, versatile veggie when it I want some summer love, in the cold months.
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
- Wash the zucchini and cut the ends off.
- Grate each zucchini and put into your blancher one zucchini at a time 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 about 4 minutes until the zucchini is bright green but not cooked!
- 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. 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.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 8 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 2mg Carbohydrates: 1g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Protein: 1g