What can you do with all the zucchini that multiplies like crazy in your garden? It’s perfect for preserving so you can enjoy lots of zucchini recipes throughout the winter and spring seasons. Here’s how you can prepare and store zucchini in your freezer.
Choose the Right Zucchini
Your zucchini should be fully ripened (but not overripe) and firm, especially on the end that attaches to the vine. It should also be free of bruises and blemishes. If your ends are soft, you can try cutting them off and salvaging the rest of the zucchini.
Prepare Your Zucchini by Slicing or Shredding
Wash your zucchini and allow it to dry. Both slicing and shredding your zucchini are successful methods of preserving. If slicing, blanch the cut pieces in boiling water or steam for three minutes. Blanching zucchini before freezing keeps it fresher, preserving some of its quality and texture. You can shred zucchini by cutting it into chunks and putting it through a Salad Shooter or food processor with the appropriate disk. Blanching the shredded zucchini is an option but I’ve always chosen to skip this step because I mostly use this zucchini in breads and pasta sauces so the texture isn’t an issue.
Storing Your Zucchini in the Freezer
Divide your shredded or sliced zucchini into your chosen size of freezer bags or containers. For example, because my zucchini bread recipe calls for two cups, I freeze mine in two cup portions so none goes to waste. If using freezer bags, flatten your bags, removing excess air and freeze until solid. After they are frozen, you can stack them together to save space! Keep in mind that blanched vegetables can be kept for up to one year in the freezer, while unblanched veggies should be used within six months of freezing.
How to Use Frozen Zucchini
Your frozen zucchini can be used in many ways! Zucchini is great for baking breads, cookies and cakes. It can also be stirred into soups and pasta sauces for an easy way to sneak veggies into some of your kids’ favorite foods! You can also try grilling the sliced zucchini directly from the freezer. If you’re adding zucchini to baked goods, make sure to thaw it and blot it dry before using as freezing tends to pull the moisture from zucchini to the surface.
Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable and preserving it by freezing will have you using it long into the cold winter months.