Zucchini, also known as courgettes in England, are a versatile and useful vegetable to have in your kitchen. You can roast them, fry them, make them into croquettes, use them in a ratatouille or pie, or make a soup. However, you might not want to keep going to the store to buy fresh zucchini, so is there anything you can do?
Can You Freeze Zucchini?
The answer to this is yes and the zucchini will come out just as tasty. You can keep them in the freezer for up to three months and in this article we will tell you how to freeze them and how to defrost them.
You do need a little time if you want to freeze zucchini, but it’s not too difficult. However, you can’t just stick them in the freezer whole. If you follow these instructions you should be successful.
- Clean the zucchini. Wash the zucchini under a cold tap. You don’t want to freeze them with any debris on them.
- Chop the zucchini. Trim the ends of the zucchini first. Then chop them up into the shapes you want. You can slice them, halve them, or cut them into chunks or wedges. The shape you choose will be relevant to your dish. For example, if you are making ratatouille, you will want slices.
- Blanch the zucchini. It is important to blanch the zucchini to stop them from becoming mushy or discolored when defrosted. To do this, bring a pan of water to the boil on the hob. When the water is boiling, put in the chopped up zucchini. Boil them for between 45 seconds and a minute. Don’t boil them for any longer as you don’t want to cook them.
- Drain the zucchini. Put the zucchini in a colander and pour cold water over them. This stops them from cooking any further.
- Flash Freeze. Put the zucchini pieces on a tray in a single layer. Make sure that they are not touching. Otherwise, they might stick together. Put the tray in the freezer and freeze the courgettes solid.
- Second Freeze. Once the zucchini have frozen, take them out of the freezer and put them in a resealable plastic bag. Put a label on the bag with the date frozen. You may not remember when you froze the zucchini and you could leave them in the freezer for too long meaning that they could lose flavor and texture. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible to avoid freezer burn. Put the bag back in the freezer.
The pieces of zucchini shouldn’t stick together so you will be able to take out as many pieces as you need for your dish and leave the others in the freezer.
Can You Leave Out the Blanching Step?
You don’t have to blanch your zucchini, but if you don’t, you risk losing some of the nutrients in the vegetables. You might also lose flavor and texture. In addition, the zucchini might end up mushy when you defrost them. This won’t matter if you are making a soup or stew as you won’t notice the shape of the zucchini.
Tips for FreezingZucchini
- Blanch the zucchini. Although you don’t have to, if you do you will retain the texture, flavor, and nutritional value of the zucchini.
- Flash freeze the zucchini. This stops the zucchini from sticking together when you put them in a bag for the second freeze.
- Freeze roasted zucchini. It takes some time and effort to roast vegetables so why not make a big pan of them and freeze them. You can mix it up and add other vegetables such as peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes. All you have to do is roast the vegetables and then cool them down. It’s a good idea to cool them down in a different pan as you don’t want to freeze them with lots of oil as this will make the vegetables mushy. Divide the vegetables into meal size portions and put them in bags or containers. However, zucchini have a high water count so the texture will change. It is therefore best to mix them in stews, casseroles and lasagna.
For How Long Can You Freeze Zucchini?
Zucchini can be frozen for up to three months. If you freeze them for longer, they will still be safe to eat, but they might start to lose some of their flavor and texture.
To defrost zucchini, you can put the frozen vegetables in a bowl and then put them in the fridge. They will defrost within an hour. However, there really isn’t any need to defrost zucchini before using them. Just put them straight into the dish. If you are making a pasta sauce, soup, or casserole, just throw the zucchin in. If you are cooking ratatouille or lasagna, just layer them straight into the dish. It won’t take long until they defrost.
Although zucchini freeze well, it isn’t a good idea to refreeze them. They freeze well the first time because they have a high water content. However, they lose some of this water when they defrost. This can lead them to become dry when defrosted again and they probably won’t taste that good either. If you freeze zucchini in meal-size portions, you won’t have the need to freeze them again.
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Zucchini?
It’s certainly not a bad idea to freeze zucchini. It will give you vegetables to use at any time without having to go to the store. However, freezing does change the texture and they can end up a little mushy. The flavor might also not be quite the same. Because of this, it is better to use them in stews, casseroles, and soups. If you want to have zucchini as a side dish, it is better to use them fresh.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use froFen Zucchini in a Salad?
It’s not a good idea because zucchini lose some of their texture when defrosted. It is better to use fresh zucchini in a salad.
Can I Freeze Grated Zucchini?
Yes, you can but it can clump and you won’t be able to use it as wanted. It is better to freeze the zucchini in pieces and then grate them.
Can I Freeze Zucchini Flowers?
Zucchini flowers are delicate and will probably lose their texture if frozen so we advise against this.
What Foods Pair Well with Zucchini?
Zucchini tastes good paired with goat’s cheese and garden herbs. They also go well with parma ham (see also ‘Can You Freeze Ham?‘), ripe peaches and Italian sausages. Zucchini are mild in flavor so pair well with stronger flavors.