Did you plant too much zucchini in your garden? Now you're overrun with more than you know what do with? Learn how to freeze zucchini.
If you read our freezing strawberries, freezing yellow squash, freezing broccoli, or freezing green beans posts, you'll notice a running theme. We tend to plant just a little more than we can eat in a reasonable amount of time.
However, this is not a problem at all. Zucchini is the type of food that has a million and one uses like zucchini nachos, lasagna, zucchini bread, and many other zucchini recipes. So if you've been growing zucchini then preserving it is a great way to ensure you can make a variety of dishes throughout the year.
Our preferred method of preservation is freezing. In fact, we freeze just about anything we can. Here's a whole list of vegetables you can freeze.
How to freeze zucchini?
We will assume you already have zucchini. But if you don't, you'll want to harvest some from your garden or go stock up at your local grocer or farmer's market.
Once you have your zucchini, you will need to wash it. Washing is essential because you do not want to freeze all the dirt, bug stuff, pesticides, or anything else that may come in contact with your zucchini while it is outside.
Washing is easy. We prefer to place our zucchini in a colander and run it under cold water for a few minutes. You can pick up each zucchini individually and give it a good scrubbing, by hand or with a brush, to make sure it is completely clean of anything you may not want to eat later.
Once your veggies are clean it's time to cut them. We use a mandolin slicer to cut our zucchini into chip slices. Just be careful, you will want to wear protective gloves because it is really easy to slice your hand on this tool (trust me!).
Don't want to use chips?
Maybe you want to freeze your zucchini noodles? This method also works if you cut your zucchini into zucchini noodles or you can shred it and freeze to use in baking later.
The next step is blanching. Blanching is the most important part of the preservation process for a lot of vegetables.
When freezing peas, freezing asparagus and zucchini (just to name a few) they contain an enzyme that causes them to continue to age. Unless, you blanch them first. Fortunately, it is really easy to do.
Bring a large stock pot of water to a rolling boil. Once your water is boiling, drop your zucchini chips into the pot. Allow to boil and set a timer for 3-5 minutes. Time varies depending on the amount and size of your zucchini batch. You will want your zucchini to be still be crisp.
Once 3-5 minutes have passed you will need to immediately place your zucchini into an ice water bath. This will stop the cooking process and keep your zucchini crisp and fresh tasting.
Can you freeze fresh zucchini without blanching?
You can, but the zucchini will continue to age and degrade in quality. Sometimes the color will change and the flavor will suffer over extended periods of time as well.
The reason for this is zucchini contains a specific enzyme that causes the zucchini to continue the decomposition process. Blanching destroys that enzyme and your frozen zucchini will last much longer this way.
We recommend blanching for the best results.
Now it's time to portion and bag your zucchini. You will want to make sure that all of the water has been squeezed out of your zucchini chips. You don't want excess water to freeze in the bag with your zucchini.
We portion things out in two or three sizes. Using a measuring cup we add one or two cups to a quart sized freezer bag. If you anticipate a large meal or have a large family you can use gallon freezer bags.
Finally, it's time to stick your zucchini into your freezer. The bags tend to be easier to store if you squeeze all of the air out of them and lay them flat on top of each other.
How do you thaw frozen zucchini?
Thawing frozen zucchini is pretty simple. You can pull it out of the freezer, put it into a bowl (so you don't get melted ice everywhere), stick it in the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight.
If you don't have as much time, you can stick it straight into you microwave and use the defrost setting. Times will vary so check the guide for your microwave.
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