It’s that time of year, when even if there’s nothing else that will grow, the zucchini and summer squash just won’t quit. Knowing how to freeze zucchini is a game changer for solving frustration with keeping up with rapidly growing squash, and preserving it to use later.
Freezing zucchini is super easy, and this tutorial will tell you everything you need to know to make it even easier.
When I was growing up in an Amish community, we obviously didn’t have freezers, because we didn’t have electricity, so we actually canned all of our zucchini and summer squash. As you can imagine, canned squash is a lot like over-boiled squash – very mushy. We mostly used it to make squash casserole, and sometimes added it to soup for filler.
Now that we do have freezers, it’s a lot easier to save squash and zucchini in a much more versatile way. By freezing it, we’re able to use it all year long to make things like chocolate zucchini bread, Italian Zucchini Soup, and zucchini frittata.
Things to think about
Before freezing your zucchini, think about how you plan to use it. The two methods of freezing are shredded and sliced. Shredded of course, would be for baked goods like gluten-free zucchini bread where you’ll be adding zucchini to a batter and baking it. You want to shred your zucchini before freezing, because pre-frozen sliced (or whole) zucchini is going to be difficult – or nearly impossible – to shred.
So think about how much you plan to use, and then make an educated decision on how you freeze it.
How to prep your zucchini for freezing
Zucchini is one of the easiest vegetables to freeze.
- The first thing to do is make sure your zucchini is clean. You may want to wash it, or just give it a quick cleaning with a cloth, depending on how it’s been handled.
- Next, remove both the blossom, and stem ends.
- For sliced zucchini to use in stir-fry, or other recipes that use sliced zucchini, slice the zucchini into 1/4-1/3 inch round slices.
- To freeze zucchini to be used in zucchini muffins, shred the zucchini.
How to freeze shredded zucchini
One of my favorite ways to freeze zucchini is shredded so that it’s ready to use in baked goods like zucchini streusel muffins, or the already mentioned zucchini frittata. This also works for zucchini noodles (zoodles).
This method has the fewest steps, and is quite fast and simple. There’s no need for blanching here.
- Just shred the zucchini. If you have a small amount of zucchini to shred, it may be easiest to use a box grater to do the job.
- If you have a larger amount, think about getting your food processor out. A food processor can shred your zucchini so fast, you can do a very large batch in just a few minutes.
- Next, mark your freezer bags with your freeze date (the date of the day you’re working on), and the amount of zucchini in the bag.
I like to freeze my shredded zucchini in pre-measured portions equivalent to the recipes I commonly use.
As an example, my zucchini cheese bread recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, so I mark the bag with 1 1/2 cups and measure that much into it.
For this quantity, you can use a pint or quart freezer bag, measure your zucchini into it, seal the air out, and then flatten the zucchini inside the bag so it lays nice and flat as it freezes. Having your bags frozen flat makes it easy to organize your freezer and maximize space.
How to freeze sliced zucchini
Now we move on to freezing sliced zucchini. I’m not as keen to measure sliced zucchini the way I do shredded, since I’m usually eyeballing how much I put in a stir-fry, etc. But you can measure it if you want. I personally just stick with marking each bag with he date.
Freezing sliced zucchini is an easy process, because well, slicing is pretty darn easy. But there is an added step; blanching. This step is necessary to keep your zucchini nice and firm, rather than mushy as it thaws out.
How to blanch zucchini
Blanching is simply the process of stopping the enzymes present in raw squash from working.
- We do this by bringing a large pot of water to a boil
- Add zucchini to boiling water, and let it cook for one minute
- Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer zucchini to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking
- From there, drain the zucchini and pack into freezer bags.
- As always, press as much air as possible out of the bag as you seal it, and then in the freezer it goes. I like to put the baggies on a baking sheet initially so that they freeze flat, and then remove them to store
That’s all there is to it!
How long is frozen zucchini good for?
Conservative estimates say 3-4 months. more generous estimates give frozen zucchini 12 months before calling for the compost pile. This is likely because the optimal time of freezer storage is 3-4 months, after which this high-moisture food can become freezer burnt. This is partly way it’s so important to make sure you seal all the air out of your zucchini bags, and make sure it stays frozen in a dependable freezer.
How to use frozen zucchini
To use your frozen zukes (or yellow squash), simply thaw and add to your dish.
to thaw them, I like to take them out of the freezer the night before I plan to use them, and let the thaw slowly in the refrigerator.
Be sure to put your freezer bag in a bowl of some sort so moisture from the thawing squash doesn’t leak al over your refrigerator.
For using the shredded zucchini, there will likely be a lot of separation fo the zucchini from the water. If the recipe you’re using calls for squeezing moisture out of the zucchini before using, go ahead and drain it off. Otherwise, add it, water and all, to your recipe.
Other recipes you may like
If you’re looking for more recipes similar to this, here are some of our favorites, linked below.
- How to freeze pumpkin pie filling
- Homemade freezer pickles
- Blackberry freezer jam
- How to freeze green beans without blanching
- The best way to freeze bananas for smoothies
- How to freeze lemon juice
How to Freeze Zucchini
a simple recipe for freezing zucchini
- Freezer bags
- Select good, firm, clean zucchini
- Trim both blossom and stem end
- For freezing shredded zucchini, go ahead and shred using a box grater or food processor, and proceed directly to step nine
- For freezing sliced zucchini, slice into 1/4-1/3 inch thick rounds
- Heat a pot of water to boiling
- When water comes to a boil, prepare a large bowl of ice water
- Working in batches, blanch zucchini by boiling in hot water for 1 minute, then transferring to ice water bath, stirring around to cool quickly
- Lift from ice water to colander to drain
- Mark freezer bags with date, and for shredded zucchini or any zucchini you intend to use in recipes that need a specific, measured quantity (i.e. zucchini bread), mark the quantity. You may want to look at your commonly used recipes to use as a reference. A common quantity of shredded zucchini used in a recipe is 1 1/12 or 2 cups.
- Pack zucchini in prepared bag, and seal, begin sure to remove any extra air from bag as you do so
- Lay bags of zucchini on a flat baknig tray, and place in freezer until frozen, then remove from tray to stack and store in your freezer
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