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How to Freeze Zucchini {So It Isn’t Mushy!}

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Love zucchini (aka summer squash)? Can’t eat it fast enough! Don’t give it all away! Don’t try canning! I asked: Can you freeze zucchini? YES! Find out how!

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How to Freeze Zucchini {So It Isn’t Mushy!}

If you love raw zucchini (also known as summer squash) as much as I do, there may not be any left to freeze. But, I admit it, I have a bumper crop this year and we can’t eat it fast enough! What to do? Besides giving it away, I wondered:

Can you freeze zucchini?

Surprisingly, YES you CAN! I’ve never tried to can (or jar) zukes, but I know you can successfully freeze it. There are a few tricks I’ve learned along the way. I wanted to share in hopes that it helps someone!

I love zucchini. Period. Whether it’s sauteed in a little olive oil, steamed in water, or even sauteed on the stove top in a frying pan in water – which is sort of a combo of the two without the calories from the olive oil. I love it baked (don’t miss my low-calorie zucchini logs appetizer or the broiled zucchini or even this fantastic zucchini margherita (which sounds like a drink, but it’s actually a side dish made with lots of fresh ingredients from the garden!)

If you have a preferred way to eat zucchini, such as in baking, then you should prepare it accordingly before freezing. For example, if you want thick rounds or if you want grated, cut it the way you want it before proceeding.

How to Freeze Zucchini

The trick is to harvest your zukes before they get too big. The ideal zucchini size is what you typically see at the grocery store – about two to three inches in diameter. Any bigger than 3″ across and they start to develop big seeds in the middle. So, pick your zucchini before then! When the inside of a zuke get seedy, that area gets mushy — especially mushy when you cook it! By picking your zucchini at the right time, you can avoid them getting soft and smushy when you cook them. The same goes for storing them long term such as canning or jarring. The bigger zukes will not keep as well as the smaller ones will.

The second trick is to blanch the raw zucchini before freezing. Some might call it parboil (or partially boil – that is, to partially cook). The difference between blanching and parboiling is that both require boiling for a short time, but blanching requires you to submerge in ice water to stop the cooking process quickly.

Because I want to sautee my zukes this winter, I sliced them quickly in my food processor. Then I added them to already-boiling water and parboiled for three minutes.

While the zukes were boiling, I prepared another large pot of ice water in the sink. As soon as the three minutes of boiling was up, I strained off the hot water and plunged the zukes into ice water for another three minutes.  I then drained the water, trying to remove all the excess water I could. While letting them sit a few minutes to get rid of the excess water, I labeled zippered freezer bags.  I then filled the bags with the parboiled zukes, being careful to keep them flat so they’ll thaw easier this winter when I’m ready to enjoy.

To thaw, either slowly in the refrigerator or in the microwave on “defrost” setting, then prepare as usual. You can enjoy the bounty of your garden’s summer squash all year long! Frozen zucchini should keep in the freezer for up to a year or more.

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