When your produce drawer or garden is overflowing with zucchini, learn how to freeze your bounty for another day.
You can spiralize it, bake it, sauté it, fry it, and turn it into bread. But in the middle of zucchini season, even using all those beloved techniques may not be enough to eliminate the piles of uncooked zucchini overtaking your garden or CSA box.
If this is your situation, we’re happy to say there’s an easy solution: just freeze it. By freezing zucchini you’ll have access to this fresh veggie year-round and won’t have to worry about your bounty going to waste.
Follow these four easy steps to freeze zucchini so you can have a little taste of summer any time you want.
How to Freeze Zucchini
Make sure your zucchini are properly rinsed (and scrubbed if they’re particularly dirty) before anything else. You won’t be able to clean them post-freezing. Also use this time to cut off any bruised or damaged spots.
How you prep your zucchini depends on how you plan to use it. If you’re wanting to mix zucchini into soups and stir fries, then chopped is the way to go. If you’re looking for a more bold bite of zucchini, simply slice them for dishes like ratatouille. And for baking zucchini bread, the veggie can easily be shredded.
Blanching is a necessary step to keep zucchini from turning mushy in the freezer. This technique deactivates the enzymes that spoil the texture and color of zucchini.
To blanch zucchini, simply bring an unsalted pot of water to a boil. Toss in the zucchini, and cook for 1 minute. Then, scoop it out and place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once your zucchini is cooled, it’s time to move onto freezing.
4. Double Freeze
If you’re in a rush, or really don’t mind a little extra cooking time after freezing, you can simply tuck your blanched zucchini into zip-topped plastic bags and stick them in the freezer. This will result in a solid piece of zucchini when you pull it out again.
If you want zucchini that’s easier to divide, do a double freeze. Spread out the blanched zucchini on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and stick in the freezer. Once the veggie is frozen solid, you can scoop it into a plastic bag and put it back in the freezer. This keeps the individual pieces of zucchini loose. It will be easier to scoop out precisely what you need for your meal or baked good.
How to Use Your Frozen Zucchini
Frozen zucchini can be used in almost any cooked capacity. Its texture is slightly softer than fresh zucchini, so keep that in mind when picking a recipe. Reduce the cooking time for the zucchini portion of your dish.
There’s no need to thaw frozen zucchini when cooking. Simply toss it into dishes like soups, casseroles, pastas, and more. For baking with shredded zucchini, it’s best to thaw the zucchini and wring out any excess water before adding it to cake or bread batters.