How to Freeze Zucchini for Best Results
How to freeze zucchini is a very useful bit of knowledge to have when it comes to food preservation.
The most common squash, and the closest to zucchini, in the Middle East is kousa.
Kousa literally translates as squash in English so it covers any variety..
Known in some places as Korean squash, it has a very pleasing, mild flavor, and is easy to core and stuff.
A common dish in the Middle East uses squash for stuffing with a meat and rice mixture.
Cooked either in tomato or a yogurt sauce, these stuffed vegetables are irresistable!
Stuffed kousa, especially when cooked with rolled grape leaves and lamb, is a favorite of mine.
Why Freeze Zucchini?
Freezing zucchini is a good way to keep squash for cooking through the winter months.
Doing it right is important so you end up with the best possible quality when thawed.
Once fresh zucchini is picked it begins to produce enzymes which cause it to start to fade.
The color and flavor quickly begin to diminish, and worst of all, the nutrients start to go.
To help prevent the zucchini from shedding nutrients, it’s best to freeze them as quickly as possible.
Before you freeze them it’s a good idea to blanch the zucchini.
Blanching simply means to give the squash a quick bath in boiling water.
This process stops the enzymes dead in their tracks, and from doing their job of breaking down the vegetable.
It also brightens the color, cleans the vegetables of any unwanted debris, and keeps the nutrient levels high.
Another option is to freeze cooked zucchini.
Simply cut up your squash, place it on a tray with a little oil and bake until cooked through.
This will take about 20 to 25 minutes to do, at which point remove from the oven and cool completely.
Freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet, then once frozen transfer to freezer bags.
Try and squeeze as much air out of the bags to help avoid freezer burn.
How to Freeze Zucchini
Depending on how you most often use your squash will dictate how best to chop it before freezing.
Wash zucchini, and slice into pieces, or grate using a grater or food processor.
Once you have your zucchini sliced and ready, it’s time for blanching.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
Ready a bowl of ice water, and line a tray with some paper towels for drying after blanching.
Once the water is boiling, using a slotted spoon, place the squash into the water for one to three minutes.
Depending on how much squash you are working with you may have to do this in batches.
Once blanched, place the zucchini in the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
Allow the zucchini pieces to drain in a colander.
Once drained, place the blanched slices on the paper towel lined tray, and pat dry.
It’s important for things going into the freezer be as dry as possible, this helps avoid any crystallization.
Place the chopped, blanched and patted dry zucchini on a baking tray.
Freeze for an hour or two or until solid.
Remove from the tray and place the frozen zucchini in freezer bags; filling them about ¾ of the way full.
As you are sealing the bags, try and push out as much air as possible before storing for a longer period.
The less air in the bag, the less the chance of developing freezer burn.
Freeze zucchini and summer squash for up to one year.
Next time you are craving zucchini bread, get your frozen shredded zucchini out of the freezer for a head start!
- For best results always freeze vegetables as close to picking as possible.
- Think about freezing a variety of cuts of zucchini, from grated, to batons, and circles.
- Label your freezer bags with dates and contents so as to use the older dated foods first.