How to Freeze Zucchini
Make squash season last forever with these easy tips.
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By Regan Cafiso for Food Network Kitchen
Zucchini is a great vegetable to keep on hand. But when it comes into season — especially if you have a garden — you can end up with too much of a good thing. While zucchini is versatile and delicious, it can be a challenge to find enough uses for this bountiful squash before it starts to go bad. Luckily you can preserve your extra zucchini (or any other summer squash) by freezing it.
Here are our tips on how to freeze zucchini.
Don't Freeze Raw Zucchini
While freezing zucchini is a great way to extend its life, it's not as simple as just popping a few squash into your freezer. Raw zucchini gets weepy and watery after thawing. To effectively save it, you should chop and blanch it first. This helps set the texture and color and makes it last longer.
How to Chop Zucchini for Freezing
Our favorite way to freeze zucchini that thaws well is to cut it crosswise into thick slices — at least 1/2-inch thick — which allows the skin around each slice to stay intact, helping protect its shape during blanching and freezing.
How to Blanch Zucchini
Start by bringing a large pot of water to a rapid boil. This is one of the few times you should NOT add salt to your blanching water. Salt draws out moisture and can make the zucchini mushy. While the water comes to a boil, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water. Also grab a colander and a slotted spoon and line a baking sheet or plate with a thick layer of paper towels.
When the water boils, drop in the zucchini rounds, working in batches if you have a lot. Let the water return to a boil and cook until until they are bright green and still firm, 1 to 3 minutes. Don't overcook.
Immediately transfer the zucchini to the ice bath using a slotted spoon. Gently stir the ice water to cool the vegetables, then drain well. Lay the zucchini in a single layer on the lined baking sheet and blot with more paper towels to dry well.
How to Store Frozen Zucchini
When your blanched zucchini is cool and dry, put the slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until completely solid, about 2 to 4 hours. When the vegetables are frozen, transfer them to resealable freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible and seal tightly. Label the bags and stash in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to Freeze Zucchini in a Recipe
Another great way to extend the life of your zucchini is to make a freezeable recipe that uses it. Zucchini helps keep dishes moist, so many recipes that include it, like muffins, quick breads and soups, are perfect for freezing.
Favorites Zucchini Recipes that Freeze Well: