Can You Freeze Zucchini?
Can you freeze zucchini? If you have a ton of zucchini coming out of your garden, you need a way to use all of your harvests. Obviously, there’s only so much zucchini you can eat in all the stir-fries, zucchini soups, cakes and muffins you make. Your neighbors and family already got their fair share of your summer squash and there’s still plenty left.
Or maybe you’ve happened to see a great deal on zucchini at the supermarket and you just can’t resist it. And now you have all the zucchini in the world and no idea how to use it before it spoils. So what can you do to preserve the vegetable? Freezing zucchini comes to the rescue!
Since zucchini is mostly used in cooked meals, freezing this vegetable makes a lot of sense. Freezing changes the texture of veggies. After defrosting, veggies aren’t that appealing to use in raw meals like salads. However, the texture change doesn’t matter that much in cooked dishes like soups or stews. So, since zucchini is usually used in cooked dishes, freezing it is the best way to preserve it. In this article, we will go through three ways of freezing zucchini. If you’re interested, read on!
Freezing roasted zucchini is the go-to of freezing for meal prep. The whole process is simple, takes little work, and the results are great. Here’s how to do it:
- Prep. Wash the zucchini and cut off both ends. If it’s not organic, I’d suggest peeling it too. Now cut it into slices.
- Coating with olive oil and spices. Take a large bowl, add a tablespoon (or more if needed) of olive oil and some spices of your choice. I usually go with salt and pepper, but feel free to add whatever spices you like with zucchini. Now chuck the sliced zucchini into the bowl and give it a good stir. Make sure all slices are coated with olive oil and spices.
- Prepare for roasting. Preheat the oven to 430 degrees F (or 220 C). Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and transfer the cut veggies onto the sheet. Make sure they lay in a flat layer, no slices on top of others.
- Roasting. Once the oven reaches the right temperature, put the cookie sheet into the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. Use a fork or a toothpick to check if the zucchini is done.
- Cooling down. Once the veggies are roasted, get the cookie sheet out of the oven and leave it in room temperature for about half an hour to cool down.
- Portioning. After cooling down the zucchini it’s time to portion the zucchini slices. If you have a meal-size portion in mind, great. If not, go for smaller portions so it’s easier to defrost as much as you need.
- Packaging. Transfer the roasted zucchini into freezer bags or containers. Label with name and date if needed.
- Freezing. Put the veggies into the freezer.
Since you freezing pretty much ready-to-eat zucchini, it just needs defrosting and warming up before eating. The easiest way to do that is on the stove using a nonstick pan.
Not everyone is a fan of blanching, mostly because it takes time to both blanch the veggies and clean up afterward. But the quality of the veggies frozen after blanching is usually worth it. If this is your first time freezing blanched zucchini, feel free to freeze a portion of raw zucchini and test for yourself. If you like the results then you don’t have to blanch the zucchinis. But if you feel that blanching improves the texture and taste of the vegetable, do it. Here’s how to freeze zucchini slices with blanching:
- Prep. Wash the veggies and remove both ends. Peel it if desired and slice it.
- (Optional) Blanch the zucchini. Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare a big bowl of cold water with some ice cubes. This will be the ice bath. Once the water starts to boil, chuck the zucchini slices into the boiling water and keep them there for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the slices. After blanching, transfer the vegetable slices into the ice bath using a slotted spoon. After a few minutes drain the water.
- Drying. We need to make sure the zucchini slices are dry before they go into the freezer. Lay the vegetable slices on a clean dishcloth or paper towels and leave there to dry. Before going further take a paper towel and pat the slices dry.
- (Optional) Pre-freezing. Take a cookie sheet that will fit into your freezer and lay the slices onto it in a way they don’t touch one another. Put the sheet into the freezer for about 2 hours until the slices are frozen. With pre-frozen slices, you can add all of your slices into a single bag or container and take as much as you need at a time because they won’t clump. Recommended if you’re not sure how to portion the zucchini.
- Portioning. Divide the zucchini into meal-size portions. If you’ve pre-frozen the slices, no need to worry about portions.
- Packaging. Transfer the portions into freezer bags or containers. Label with name and date if desired.
- Freezing. Chuck the veggies into the freezer.
If you don’t want to deal with blanching and freeze zucchini with little effort, freezing shredded zucchini is the way to go. The process is dead simple. If you use a food processor to shred the zucchini, it requires almost no work. Here’s how’s to do it:
- Prep. Wash and remove both ends of your zucchinis. Peel if they’re not organic.
- Shredding. To shred the veggies, you can use a grater or a food processor. If there’s a lot of zucchinis to shred, the food processor is the way to go.
- Portioning. Think of how much zucchini you will need at a time and divide the shredded zucchini into portions based on that. When unsure, divide it into one-cup portions that should work for most recipes.
- Packaging. Transfer the portions into freezer bags. Label the bags with name and date if needed.
- Freezing. Throw the freezer bags into the freezer.
As you can see, this method is really simple and takes little time. However, this method is only suitable for recipes that call for shredded zucchini such as cakes, muffins or zucchini bread.
Here’s a video that shows this method of freezing in action:
Here are a few ways you can defrost frozen zucchini:
- Overnight in the fridge. Take the bag or container and put it into the fridge the night before you need the zucchini. It will be defrosted and ready for cooking in the morning.
- On the stove. This is the best way to defrost and prepare roasted zucchini. Use a nonstick pan on low heat to defrost the veggies. Then, gradually turn the heat up to warm the zucchini complete. Once warmed up, roasted zucchini is ready to serve.
- At room temperature. While most resources don’t recommend defrosting at room temperature, I didn’t have any issues with it whatsoever. Just make sure the zucchini sits at room temperature for 2 hours, not two days. After a couple of hours, the zucchini should be defrosted and ready for cooking.
- Throw it in frozen. If you’re making a soup or a stew with zucchini, just add the frozen zucchini directly into the simmering pot. It will defrost and cook in the pot without any issues. Make sure to add a few minutes to the total cooking time to account for defrosting the zucchini.