It’s time to start planning what summer staples are going to occupy the valuable real estate in your freezer during the cold months. For me, zucchini has consistently been one of those staples. I tend to lean on the versatility of zucchini all year round, adding it to a variety of dishes such as stir fries and curries, and even use it for baking. Luckily this summer vegetable can easily be preserved and, when frozen properly, can last for an entire year! Produce is at its best and cheapest when in season, so freezing them before the season is over not only saves you money, but insures the produce tastes amazing. There are a number of ways to freeze zucchini, but if you want great texture, taste, and usability, the blanching and pre-freezing method works best.
1. Cut ‘Em Up
When preparing your zucchini, think about how you’ll be using them later. I tend to cut them up into bite-sized chunks, but others prefer to leave them as ½” slices. Make sure you cut the ends and discard them (about ½” in each side).
2. Blanch Cut Up Zucchini
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add prepared zucchini in batches and allow them to sit in the pot for 45-60 seconds each. Any longer and they’ll become mushy. Blanching zucchini slows enzymes that naturally discolour and soften the summer vegetable, ensuring that when you thaw it, it won’t be overly soft.
3. Dunk blanched chunks into ice water
Using a slotted spoon, scoop out your zucchini, give them a couple of shakes, and dump them into a large bowl of ice water and let them chill for a few minutes. This will immediately halt the cooking process and allow the zucchini to keep its texture. Again, you don’t want mushy zucchini!
4. Drain well and place on a baking sheet
Again, using the slotted spoon, remove them from the ice bath and place them in a colander. You want to make sure that they’re as dry as possible, so, after draining them, pat them down with a paper towel to draw away excess moisture. On a baking sheet lined with wax paper, lay the zucchini in a single layer. Be sure to choose a baking sheet that can fit in your freezer (you may need to make some room).
Place the baking sheet with zucchini into the freezer for two hours so the outside of the chunks or slices are frozen. This step is optional, but pre-freezing will prevent the chunks from forming one solid, frozen lump when you portion them into bags. Remove the tray and shake the chunks off the wax paper.
6. Portion out and put ‘em away
Portion out your zucchini into air-tight, resealable bags, and put them in the freezer to use later! When you’re ready to use them, make sure you allow them to thaw before adding them to your meals. It’ll allow them to cook faster and more thoroughly.
Zucchini Recipes To Try
After going through the process of freezing and storing zucchini, you’re probably in brainstorming mode. Here are a few recipes you can try with frozen zucchini! Just be sure to thaw before cooking.
Rich, slightly spicy, and a little fruity, this unique curry dish is an experience your taste buds need. Serve over rice or quinoa for a delicious Sunday dinner.
A party is only as good as the dip served, and if you want to host a gathering worth talking about, go with this zestful chickpea dip. It’s super easy to whip up and is paired well with veggies and plain chips.
This classic Asian dish is quite simple to make, but tastes like it was made in a world-class kitchen. If your family loves spicy food, this dish comes highly recommended.
An easy-to-make family favourite! Enjoy the cheesy goodness of this timeless Mexican dish with a side of fresh salsa!
Yup, zucchinis can be used for desserts too! Take the guilt out of your late-night cravings with this delicious cake recipe!
Have any other recipes you could use frozen zucchini in? Comment below and let us know!