Consumed boiled, steamed, fried, barbecued, stuffed and baked, zucchini is a nutritious vegetable loved by people all over the world. If you have enough space in your home garden, you can also grow zucchini easily.
When it is the zucchini season, you will have the vegetable in abundance and the stores will also offer you profitable deals and you might just wonder whether you can freeze zucchini without letting it go to waste.
Yes, you can freeze zucchini and save it for later use, especially during the winter season. But, you have to freeze zucchini the right way to prevent it from being mushy and get the optimal results.
Once correctly frozen and thawed, this versatile vegetable can be put into many uses such as making side salads, mixing with pasta, boiling, using as a filling for burgers, making healthy low-calorie zoodles and baking zucchini muffins.
This article will help you gain a perfect knowledge of the important factors that should be considered when freezing zucchini.
Health Benefits of Eating Zucchini
Zucchini is a vegetable rich in vitamins, minerals and other plant-based nutrients. Also, the antioxidants in zucchini are beneficial for the health of your eyes, heart and skin.
Like many vegetables, zucchini also helps to keep your digestive system healthy by regulating the bowel movements. As zucchini is a low carb vegetable, it is ideal for people who are on special diets.
Shredded zucchini can be used as a healthy alternative for dishes like noodles, pasta and spaghetti. Replacing high carb dishes with low carb zucchini can control your blood sugar level reducing the risk of diabetes.
How to Freeze Zucchini
Zucchini can be stored in the fridge too, but if you plan to store it longer than 1 or 2 weeks, you might have to freeze it. If you freeze it right, zucchini will stay good and fresh for around three months.
When choosing zucchini for freezing, choose fresh, young and unspoilt zucchini small in size for best results.
First, zucchini should be washed thoroughly to remove any dirt. When making zucchini freezer-ready, you need to think of how you plan to use it. If you wish to freeze zucchini for the purpose of making a casserole, soup, sauce or a smoothie, you need to slice them into ½ an inch rounds.
Then, you need to blanch the slices of zucchini in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute without adding salt. Blanching is essential because it stops the enzyme activities which make zucchini discoloured and look mushy.
Next, immediately transfer blanched zucchini slices to a bowl of ice water and keep them submerged in water for about 2 minutes to halt the cooking process.
After that, take zucchini out from the water, and wipe them gently with a paper towel to remove extra moisture and allow it to dry.
Then place it on a parchment-lined baking tray and flash-freeze it for 1 to 2 hours until zucchini slices are frozen.
Finally, transfer frozen zucchini to a Ziploc bag or several Ziploc bags, label the bags mentioning the date and freeze. Zucchini frozen likewise stay good for about a year or so.
But, if you plan to add zucchini to your baked goods or make health-friendly noodles, spaghetti or pasta with frozen zucchini, you need to shred it rather than slicing.
First, wash zucchini well and cut it into manageable pieces. Then, shred zucchini using a grater or a food processor. Next, portion out the shredded zucchini and pack them in freezer-friendly bags, label them and freeze.
These shredded zucchini should be consumed within 8 to 10 months.
Can You Freeze Zucchini Noodles?
Choose a fresh zucchini and wash it thoroughly. Then, cut it into manageable pieces. Using a vegetable spiralizer, cut zucchini into noodle sized strips. If a vegetable spiralizer is not available at your home, use a knife and cut thin and long strips of zucchini.
Then, remove the excess moisture in zucchini noodles by patting the noodles dry with a paper towel.
Next, portion out the zucchini noodles and store them in several Ziploc bags. Squeeze out the air inside bags. Frozen zucchini noodles are best when consumed within 3 to 5 months.
How to Thaw Frozen Zucchini?
You can defrost zucchini in several methods. One is to let it sit in the refrigerator overnight and allow it to defrost naturally. If you want to thaw frozen zucchini quickly, you can warm it up in a microwave oven. After defrosting, strain zucchini to remove excess water.
If you are preparing dishes like casseroles, pasta sauce, soups and stews, you can add frozen zucchini directly to the cooking pot.
As zucchini is a watery vegetable, it can be soft and mushy once you freeze it. Hence, it is good to use in soups, smoothies, casseroles and sauces. Because of its watery nature, it is not recommended to use frozen zucchini for vegetable salads, steamed vegetable dishes and stir-fries.
Zucchini is a versatile vegetable that can be put into many uses such as making salads, steaming, boiling, using as a healthy alternative for noodles, baking bread and making smoothies.
Because of its high nutritious value, many people have made it a habit to add zucchini for their daily meals. Especially, the people who are with dietary restrictions eat zucchini daily.
Thus, it is important for all of us to know how to freeze zucchini properly. You can freeze zucchini sliced, halved and shredded. The way you freeze it depends on how you plan to use it.
Frozen zucchini is best when used in baking goods, smoothies and dishes such as soups, stews, casseroles and smoothies.
But, it is not recommended to use zucchini for vegetable salads, steamed vegetable dishes and stir-fries. This is because the watery nature of this vegetable increases as it freezes. This review explains in detail everything you need to know about freezing zucchini.