When zucchini decides to make its appearance in the garden, it comes in fast. Just a few zucchini plants can turn into mounds of zucchini on your countertop. And while this can give you plenty of inspiration for sauteed zucchini and onions, fresh zucchini muffins, and grilled zucchini, you may eventually burn out on zucchini recipes. So, how do you freeze zucchini for use later? It’s easy, so let’s get started!
How to Freeze Zucchini
Unfortunately, zucchini isn’t as easy as some other summer favorites, like blueberries. (Find out how to freeze blueberries, too!) Learning how to freeze zucchini requires knowing about enzymes that will cause your frozen zucchini to discolor. In order to be sure this doesn’t happen, dropping chopped zucchini in boiling water for a few minutes ensures your zucchini will be lovely and green when you pull it out of the freezer. This simple blanching process is used for many vegetables before they can be stored in the freezer. So let’s get started freezing zucchini to use later! (Be sure to check out the video at the end for the full process!)
Get a large pot of water (unsalted) on to boil. (I love enamel coated cast iron dutch ovens, but if you need something lighter, go for it!) While waiting for the water to boil, go ahead and chop up your zucchini into half inch chunks. This is a great size to use in minestrone in the winter. Once your water has reached a boiling point, drop in your cubed zucchini and let boil for just 2-3 minutes. You’re not trying to cook the zucchini, just kill off those enzymes.
While your zucchini is in the pot, prepare a large bowl of ice water and set to the side. (I love this HUGE stainless steel bowl for ice baths. It holds a huge amount of veggies and is very light.) Drain your zucchini in a colander and immediately dump into the ice water. Give the zucchini five minutes or so to cool completely in the ice water.
Return zucchini to the colander to strain off any excess moisture. While zucchini is draining, go ahead and prepare your freezer bags or containers by marking with the date. This way, you’ll know just how old the zucchini is and what bag/container you need to use first. If you have a Food Saver system, you can also prepare your bags for vacuum sealing.
Use a large spoon and transfer zucchini from the colander into freezer bags/containers. I like to put enough in each bag for a single meal use, this way I’m not trying to thaw out a partial bag. Place your bags flat in the freezer for easier storage, and be sure they’re label side up!
When to use frozen zucchini
Zucchini from the freezer won’t be as versatile as fresh zucchini, so skip trying to make zoodles. But frozen zucchini is great for putting in soups and stews in the winter. Try this recipe for Easy Minestrone by Two Peas and their Pod. Also, if you shred zucchini and freeze it, then it’s perfect for muffins and breads.
And freezing zucchini to use later in the year is just one of the garden goods I like to store for later. Here are some more ways to preserve the harvest:
- Quart Ziplock Bags (or Food Saver Bags)
- Large Bowl
- Dutch Oven (or large pot)
- Place a large pot of water on to boil. While water heats up, chop zucchini into small chunks.
- Add zucchini to boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. While zucchini is boiling, place ice and water into a large bowl and set a colander in the sink.
- Drain zucchini and immediately dump into ice water bath. Allow zucchini to cool in ice water bath for 5 minutes.
- Drain zucchini. Label quart bags with a permanent marker and begin to fill the bags with cooled zucchini.
- Place bags flat in freezer and take out as needed!
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