Wondering how to freeze zucchini, and if its even worth it?!
I might be biased (I did write a book on freezing your harvest, after all) but that’s a big ‘ol YES! Come late summer, we joke about leaving bags full of zucchini in unlocked cars at the grocery store… but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to come to that. There are many ways to preserve a surplus of zucchini and other types of summer squash, such as yellow varieties and even patty pans.
I’m sharing how to freeze shredded zucchini, how to freeze zucchini chunks, and how to freeze zucchini noodles here in this post. If you want even more zucchini-freezing inspiration, you’ll find recipes for more recipes in my book, Freeze Fresh.
General Zucchini Preserving Prep & Tips
- Always rinse your zucchini. Even if you don’t see any dirt, it’s still there. Zucchini have a fuzziness to them, which attracts dirt and dust.
- At a certain size and age, zucchini start to become spongy in the center and the seeds become more prominent. If the zucchini are over 2 1/2-inches in diameter, I will cut them in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the pithy, seedy center before moving forward with preserving them.
- Never peel a zucchini, because the dark green skin is where most of the nutrients are. If the skin has gotten tough, the zucchini is a great candidate for shredding.
How to Freeze SHREDDED Zucchini
Perhaps the most common form of preserved zucchini, frozen shredded zucchini has an infinite number of uses. Plus it’s a handy way to use large or overgrown zucchini. Shredded zucchini is versatile and can be added to just about anything you can dream up. Of course, there are classic baked goods like zucchini bread, or you can get creative and try something savory like cheddar and zucchini scones. Frozen shredded zucchini is also useful for adding extra veg to dishes like chili, meatloaf, eggs, oatmeal, blended soups, and even pancakes.
Use a box grater or food processor with a shredding disc attachment to shred zucchini. Shredded zucchini doesn’t require blanching before freezing.
Shredded zucchini packs well in freezer bags or rigid containers. Note that vegetables that are not blanched have about a 6 month storage life in the freezer.
Consider freezing in 1-cup portions in a Souper Cubes Mold, or in 1/2-cup portions in a silicone muffin pan. It’s a good practice to measure shredded zucchini before freezing and write the amount on the freezer container. Once thawed, it will be difficult to accurately measure. If you have a favorite zucchini recipe, freeze shredded zucchini in the amount that it calls for to make baking easier.
Thawed zucchini will release a lot of liquid, which can affect how your recipe turns out. I wish there was a straightforward answer on how to deal with this issue. Whether or not to drain this extra liquid depends on what you’re making, and finding the best approach might take some trial and error.
How to Freeze Zucchini CHUNKS
It seems like either you love chunks of frozen zucchini and other summer squashes or you don’t. I used to be in he later camp until I figured out how to freeze them properly and which dishes they work best in. Frozen zucchini chunks are a great addition to soup, where their softness will go unnoticed, or added to stir fry where their softness won’t be prominent when paired with other vegetables and textures. A hidden talent of the frozen zucchini is adding bulk and nutrients to smoothies. Use chunks of frozen zucchini instead of ice cubes. When blended with other bold flavors such as berries or chocolate, the squash all but disappears.
Use smaller, tender zucchini or summer squash if the intention is to cook with it, and large overgrown ones for blending into smoothies. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice into 1-inch chunks
Zucchini chunks should be blanched, which means they will last up to 1 year in the freezer. I prefer to steam blanch for 4 minutes, tossing the zucchini around at the 2-minute mark. No ice bath is needed. Drain as much water as possible, then spread out the warm zucchini on a towel-lined pan to cool and dry.
Zucchini chunks pack best in freezer bags. Consider flash freezing zucchini to use in smaller quantities.
How to Freeze Zucchini Noodles
Zucchini noodles, aka “zoodles” freeze perfectly, and I think they are even better frozen-thawed than fresh! The process of blanching wilts and softens the zucchini, and once thawed, all they need is a quick sauté. Use zucchini noodles as a vegetable alternative to traditional pasta. Zucchini isn’t the only summer squash you can make into noodles– try using yellow varieties too!
Making zoodles requires a gadget that will “noodle” them. There are different options available for this, the brand I use is called Spiralizer. A straight, medium-sized zucchini works best for turning into noodles.
Steam blanch zucchini noodles for 3 minutes, tossing them around at the 90-second mark. No ice bath is needed. Drain as much water from the noodles as possible, then transfer to a towel-lined pan to dry.
Zucchini noodles pack best in freezer bags.
Thaw zucchini noodles in the refrigerator overnight, then drain away any excess water. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the noodles, and sauté, stirring frequently until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click through them and end up purchasing an item, I may receive monetary or other compensation. The price you pay is unaffected by using this link, and buying stuff you were going to get anyways through an affiliate link is a great way to support your favorite blogger! Thanks!