Freezing Zucchini: A Great Way to Chill Out
Follow these steps and enjoy nutritious zucchini any time.
For the home gardener, zucchini is often a first round pick when planning the summer garden. With good reason. Easy to grow and with a long growing season, zucchini is an easy home run when looking to fill the gathering basket.
And fill it you will. Harvest begins in early summer and does not let up until summer is over. Depending on your growing zone, that can mean a whole lot of zucchini.
Zucchini bread, sauteed zucchini, grilled zucchini, zucchini muffins, marinated zucchini salad, zucchini pancakes, zucchini fries, zucchini lasagna, zucchini frittata, zucchini pizza, zucchini quiche, zucchini in zucchini sauce, zucchini stuffed zucchini, zucchini zucchini…
Did I black out there? Needless to say, it is a prolific vegetable.
By mid-summer, the ideas have run out. Bags of zucchini begin to appear in the office break room or are left on your front porch as other intrepid gardeners also face zucchini burnout, desperate to clear the counter before the only choice is the compost pile.
Sure, you’re sick of them too. But take them all. Every last one. Don’t worry. We have a plan.
Believe it or not, there will come a day when a zucchini muffin is going to sound pretty good. Added to a hearty winter soup, that zucchini heft and flavor might be just the ticket. And we’ll be ready.
Zucchini (and summer squash, for that matter) freezes well. With a little preparation up front, zucchini and squash can become a welcome “go to” for fall and winter cooking.
Preparing to Freeze
Consider how you will use your zucchini or squash. Do you love it sliced into a stir fry? Chopped and steamed? Grated for baking? Sliced, chopped or grated, it all freezes the same and come winter you will appreciate being able to thaw and dump without having to fool with it a second time.
Once your vegetables are prepared, we have one more stop before hitting the big freeze.
Like all vegetables, zucchini has enzymes within that will soften, discolor and deplete nutrients in the produce over time, even when frozen. Blanching — a quick bath in boiling water — will destroy the enzymes and any bacteria that may be lurking.
Bring some unsalted water to boil in a pot deep enough to completely submerge manageable batches. I use my colander to determine batch size, as the processed zucchini will go back in there once blanched and cooled.
Once a rolling boil is reached, drop the zucchini into the pot for 3 to 4 minutes. When it comes out, the zucchini should still be firm.
Transfer into a very large bowl or pot of ice water using a slotted spoon to suspend cooking.
Move the zucchini into a colander to drain for a few minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.
Fresh Broccoli Beats Store-Bought Every Time
Want to enjoy fresh-from-the-garden broccoli all year long? It's a snap to freeze this fiber-rich veggie to use in stir fries, soup and more. Learn the process for how to freeze broccoli in this article by Julie A. Martens.
Overwhelmed with Cucumbers?
Cucumber vines can be prolific producers of the treasured summertime veggie. Don't think it's possible to freeze cucumbers? Well, the secret lies in the preparation. Learn how to freeze cucumbers for summer-fresh fare in any season.
Never Have Too Many Cherry Tomatoes
While frozen cherry tomatoes are no longer fit to be used in tossed salads, you can blend them with herbs or use in soups and stew. In this article, Julie A. Martens offers several great uses for frozen cherry tomatoes and describes the best way to preserve them.
Freeze Spinach for Soups and More
While you won't want to serve frozen spinach in fresh salads, the leaves will work nicely in soup, casseroles and stir fries. You'll just want to freeze young leaves. Avoid the older or yellowing leaves as they'll produce a nasty taste and rubbery texture. Ever tried making frozen spinach cubes? Get more tips on how to freeze spinach in this article on how to freeze spinach.
Can You Freeze Kale?
Yes, you can freeze kale. Frozen kale works well in smoothies and blends well into quiches, crock pot stews and soups. Find more uses for frozen kale and how to best preserve this nutrient-packed green.
Put Your Onions in the Deep Freeze
Too many onions to eat right away? Not a problem. They freeze easily, and can be used in a variety of ways. Learn how to prep onions for safe storage in the deep freeze, how to keep the onion odor low and when to use frozen onions in your dishes.
Freeze Asparagus for Great Flavor
While frozen asparagus spears won't be as crisp as garden-fresh stems, they can still be used in many dishes. Here are the steps to preserving this nutrient-dense vegetable and some ideas on how to use frozen asparagus to add flavor to your meals.
Can You Freeze Garlic Cloves?
You definitely can freeze garlic. In fact, you can freeze garlic in many ways. While frozen garlic lacks the crunchy texture of fresh, the flavor remains strong—and definitely won't have the chemical taste that sometimes accompanies jarred garlic. Learn several ways to freeze garlic and how to use it to add flavor to food.
How Do You Freeze Eggplant?
Eggplant doesn't keep very long, and you won't be able to can it without pulverizing it beyond recognition. So, how do you preserve your delicious eggplant? Forget your canner and learn how to freeze eggplant. Here are several freezing methods you can try.
Enjoy a Summertime Favorite All Year
Learn how to freeze corn and you'll be able to enjoy this summertime treat all year—even with your holiday turkey. Freezing corn is simple, and it's a great way to introduce kids to food preservation. Learn the steps to freezing corn in this article by Julie A. Martens.
How to Freeze Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts bring more than taste to the table. This cabbage cousin boasts vitamins and is high in protein, so you'll want to make your locally-grown Brussels sprouts last. Learn the two ways to freeze Brussels sprouts and ways to include this frozen super veggie on your table.
Steps to Freezing Cabbage
Want to enjoy the nutrition offered by cabbage all year? This unsung hero of the vegatable garden adapts well to the freezing process. Start with dense, solid heads that feel weighty for their size. Learn more about the steps to freezing cabbage in this article from Julie A. Martens.
Freeze Celery for Soups
Celery is mostly water, and the freezing process ruptures cell walls, resulting in a limp, mushy product. But frozen celery works fabulously in casseroles, sauces, stock, and other hot concoctions. You can also use it as an aromatic with soups, broths for cooking rice, or roasts, tossing after cooking. Learn the steps to freezing celery in this article.
Overstocked on Mushrooms?
Mushrooms might last about a week in the refrigerator, which might not be enough time to enjoy the bounty you may have grown or foraged. Consider freezing mushrooms. Learn which method of freezing mushrooms works best, and get some ideas for how to use them in recipes.
Sure, using gallon-sized Ziploc bags works just fine and makes quick work of filling them. But consider using pint or quart bags instead. It makes freezer space management more tolerable and allows you to thaw only what you’ll need. Pack bags as full as possible and push as much air out as possible before sealing.
Now into the freezer they go until a time when fresh zucchini is not at every turn.
Winter you says thanks.
- How to Freeze Green Beans
- How to Freeze Corn
- How to Freeze Broccoli
- How to Freeze Okra
- Can You Freeze Mushrooms?
- Freezing Eggplant
- Can You Freeze Celery?
- Freezing Onions
- Freezing Cabbage
- Can You Freeze Garlic Cloves?