How to freeze zucchini

A single zucchini plant can yield three to nine pounds of fruit according to the article, A Bountiful Garden, from the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. I grow a minimum of two zucchini vines, which provides more than enough zucchini for my husband and me. That means many extra zucchini worthy of freezing. All through the winter, I have zucchini in stock to use in soups and casseroles.

Before freezing zucchini the fruit requires blanching, which is a bath in boiling water that destroys bacteria. Fill a pot about half full with water and place it on high heat to boil. The size of the pot and the amount of water needed is dependent on how much zucchini you will be blanching at a time.

Prepare the zucchini

If you have been storing the zucchini in the refrigerator, pull it out to warm to room temperature. Rinse the zucchini. Cut off and discard the tip ends of the zucchini. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Slice the zucchini into the desired size such as long strips, 1/2-inch strips or cubes.

Blanch the zucchini

When the pot of water comes to a rolling boil, carefully drop in the zucchini. Cover and set the timer for three minutes. While the pot is boiling, fill a like-size container with water and ice. NOTE:  If you have a deep sieve that fits the pot, drop the zucchini into the sieve and then insert that into the boiling pot of water.

When the timer goes off, turn off the boiling pot and move the zucchini to the ice water. That can be accomplished using a slotted spoon or by transferring the zucchini-filled pot into a sieve for draining that you will then dump into the ice water.

Leave the zucchini in the ice water for five minutes. The ice bath promotes a quick chill down to stop the cooking process. 

Zucchini to the freezer

While the zucchini is in the ice water, label a freezer bag with the date and contents. Transfer the chilled zucchini to the bag and immediately place in the freezer. Blanched zucchini can be stored in the freezer for six to nine months.

Ready to use

I like breaking off a chunk of the frozen zucchini to use in soups, stir fry or casseroles. When using frozen zucchini in a bread recipe, thaw the zucchini in the refrigerator. After thawing, use within three days. Do not re-freeze.

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