Zucchini (or courgette, if you prefer) is a favorite vegetable for many people. This tasty summer squash is not only nutritious but also easy to cook. It can either be the star of a dish or served on the side.
If you want to eat it while out of season, you might be wondering: can I freeze zucchini for later?
Absolutely! Whether you have extra pieces that you don’t plan to cook in a week or preserve them to enjoy in winter, you can always freeze zucchini!
Keep reading because, in this article, we share the easiest way to freeze zucchini for later cooking and baking.
How To Store Zucchini
A whole, raw zucchini keeps fresh for up to 5 to 7 days if refrigerated adequately in a ventilated plastic bag. The secret to maintaining its maximum freshness for as long as possible is to keep it dry all the time—thus no need to wash it before storage.
If you don’t plan to use the summer vegetable before it starts to shrivel, consider freezing it for future cooking.
How To Freeze Zucchini
No matter which freezing method you choose, it is essential to start with selecting fresh, good-quality zucchini. Look for a young squash with vibrant green (or yellow) and shiny skin. It should be free of bruises, cuts, or soft spots.
Freezing Sliced Zucchini
- 1. Wash the squash and cut it into ½ thickness or bite-size pieces.
- 2. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. In another large bowl, prepare ice water for quick cooling.
- 3. In boiling water, blanch the slices for 3 minutes. Use a stopwatch, so you don’t overcook the vegetable.
- Quick blanching is recommended to better retain the texture, flavor, and color. Of course, you can freeze zucchini right away without blanching, but you might be disappointed with how it turned out after thawing.
- 5. After blanching, drain them in a colander and plunge them immediately into ice water to stop the cooking process. Let them cool promptly for a few minutes.
- 6. When they are cool enough, drain them in a colander and remove excess water with a kitchen towel.
- 7. Portion them out and pack them in a freezer bag.
- 8. Expel excess air out of the bag and seal it well.
- 9. Label the package with the freezing date and pop it into the freezer.
Freezing Grated Zucchini
Previously frozen shredded zucchini is an excellent substitute for a fresh one in baking and other cooking recipes.
- 1. Wash zucchini thoroughly and grate or shred it.
- 2. Steam blanch grated zucchini for 1 to 2 minutes until it looks translucent. Steam the vegetable in small batches instead of overcrowding the steamer.
- 3. Have an ice bath ready and quickly transfer blanched zucchini to the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- 4. Portion it out and pack it in a freezer-safe container. Leave ½ inch headspace.
- 5. Seal the container tightly. Don’t forget to write the freezing date and quantity.
- 6. Transfer the package to the freezer.
Freezing Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)
Spiralized zucchini or zoodles is a trendy, healthier alternative for regular pasta noodles. If you want to preserve this famous plant-based noodle, there are some extra steps to take.
Here is our step-to-step guide to freezing zoodles successfully.
- 1. Select fresh squash, wash it thoroughly, and trim both ends.
- 2. Spiralize it with a spiralizer or slice it manually.
- 3. In a large bowl, pour the zoodles and sprinkle a teaspoon of salt.
- 4. Squeeze the zoodles thoroughly to draw the extra moisture out.
- 5. Keep squeezing them until they become bubbly and more moisture is drained out.
- 6. Add more salt if necessary and continue squeezing them until they become firm.
- 7. Finally, use a cloth to squeeze the zoodles and strain the excess moisture. Leave zoodles for an hour or so to let them dry thoroughly.
- 8. Divide zoodles into portion sizes and pack them in a freezing bag.
- 9. Press excess air out and seal the bag tightly.
- 10. Label it with the freezing date, and it’s ready to go into the freezer.
Thawing and Using Frozen Zucchini
Freezing does alter zucchini’s texture. It won’t be as crisp as fresh vegetables. After freezing and thawing, it might not be the best option for salad and ratatouille. Don’t worry, there are still so many tasty dishes you can prepare from this nutritious vegetable, such as:
- Soup and stews
- Pasta sauces
- Vegetable lasagna and casseroles
- Stir-fried with other vegetables
- Baked goods, such as classic zucchini bread, muffin, and cakes
- For frozen zoodles, they are perfect for pad thai, stir-fries, and other pasta dishes
To thaw, you can simply leave frozen zucchini in the refrigerator and let it thaw slowly. If the squash is watery, drain the water out before using it.
If you’re in a hurry, submerge the frozen package in cold water or defrost it in the microwave. If thawing using these methods, cook the vegetable immediately after thawing.
If using the vegetable for hot dishes or soups, you can toss it directly into the pot – no need to thaw it out first.
Some baking recipes may also allow you to swap out fresh zucchini with the frozen version. In this case, you can also use it frozen, no need to thaw.
How Long Can You Freeze Zucchini?
Zucchini preserves its tasty flavor for up to 10 to 12 months after freezing. After that, it is likely safe to use as long as it is continuously kept at 0 °F. However, we can’t assure the quality because prolonged freezing makes it prone to getting freezer burn. So, it is best to cook the squash while still at its peak quality.
Yes, it is relatively safe to eat raw zucchini. One of the most popular ways is by spiralizing it into zoodles – zucchini noodles. The vegetable contains a cucurbitacin compound that might make it taste a little bitter, depending on the varieties.
Yes, if you plan to cook it within 1 to 2 days. To keep it fresh longer, store it in a plastic bag and refrigerate it in the crisper drawer. Keep it dry; only wash it shortly before cooking.
Freezing zucchini is completely easy and allows you to enjoy this summer vegetable throughout winter and later days. You can freeze the squash in slices, grated, or as zoodles for later cooking!
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